Religious Education

The heart of the Catholic secondary education offered by Ursuline High School is found in the programs, courses, and activities of the Religious Education Department. The department helps the school “to teach as Jesus did” by being the primary coordinating agents of the Proclamation of the Word, the Building of Catholic Community, and the Call to Christian Service.


Course Descriptions


GRADE 9 REQUIRED 1/2 credit each

This freshman level course provides students with an understanding of the basic dogmas and beliefs of the Catholic faith so that students share a common vocabulary and unified vision of the Catholic heritage. Students will explore and appreciate the meaning of the Catholic faith on a personal, historical, and affective level. Special emphasis will be given to the sacramental life of the Church, liturgy, and prayer.  Students also will explore the founding and history of Ursuline High School, the significance of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown to Ursuline and the Youngstown community, and the life and charisms of Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline Sisters.



GRADE 10 REQUIRED 1/2 credit

This scripture course focuses on the history and religious writings of the Jewish people from Abraham to Jesus. Students will come to understand the Old Testament as the basis of the faith of Christianity. Emphasis will be placed on the Creation story, the Exodus and Covenant events, the writings of the Prophets, and the prayers and reflections found in the Wisdom Books.



GRADE 10 REQUIRED 1/2 credit

This sophomore level scripture course focuses on the Incarnation and Paschal Mystery found in the Gospels.  The students will study the political and geographic world into which Jesus was born, the Catholic approach to Biblical scholarship and exegesis, and the formation of the early Church with an emphasis on the life of Peter and Paul as found in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles.  Personal faith development will be encouraged and challenged through application of scripture themes to daily life issues.



GRADE 11 REQUIRED 1/2 credit

Moral development is the main emphasis of this sophomore requirement. Students will study Catholic moral principles and values, conscience formation, the meaning of integrity, the importance of applying moral principles to decision-making, the call to live responsibly, and the freedom that results from living a Gospel-based life. Students will also learn to apply these principles to individual issues and moral dilemmas from a Catholic perspective.


GRADE 11 REQUIRED 1/2 credit

This course provides juniors the opportunity to examine social issues such as capital punishment, hunger, homelessness, prejudice, and violence from a Catholic perspective through an examination of the Church’s social justice documents. Students will grow to understand the Church’s “preferential option for the poor” as Christ’s mandate for the people of God.



GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit

As the culminating course for seniors, Contemporary Issues will examine decisions that are part of adult life and how the student’s responses are a reflection of their relationship with God.  Modern social issues such as alcohol and drug addiction, human sexuality, bioethics, and the Catholic response to death and dying will be researched and discussed.  Emphasis will be given to ethical decisions in the face of modern medical technology and life-sustaining treatments and the relationship between science and religion.  Students also will explore vocations and lifestyles for their futures.  Topics will include relationship skills, work ethics, finances, and transitions.  The goal of the course is to help students prepare for the next phase of their life.



GRADE 12 REQUIRED 1/2 credit

This course for seniors encourages tolerance and understanding of diverse religious beliefs and practices, a necessity considering our diverse culture and the impact of living in a global society.  Study will focus on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, and modern religious movements.   THIS COURSE IS REQUIRED FOR ALL SENIORS.


GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1 credit

Christian Service is an elective for seniors who have been accepted through an application process. Students research community service locations, develop a personal schedule, and serve at four different locations weekly for the remainder of the semester. In order to integrate these experiences, reflection papers, journals and projects will be assigned. Each Friday, students participate in seminar activities that focus on the relationship between the students’ service and Jesus’ call for love and compassion for all. THIS COURSE FULFILLS THE SENIOR RELIGION REQUIREMENT. PLEASE NOTE: Service meets for TWO PERIODS for one semester. PREREQUISITE: 80% or better average in Religious Education courses; 90% or better Conduct average; less than 10 days absence and 10 days tardy per year; completion of application and essay



GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit

Catholic Philosophy engages students in an in-depth exploration of selected topics for mature Catholic faith development.  The course will introduce students to philosophy and the human quest for knowledge and ultimate truth.  Beginning with the study of classical philosophers, students will gain an appreciation of the gifts of reason and free will.  Building on this philosophical background, students will be introduced to the search for God, fundamental Catholic ethical and moral principles, God’s revelation to use, and the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ who continues to live among us through the gift of the Church.   Students will explore the selected topics and develop a deeper understanding for an application of the richness of Catholic teaching and tradition. THIS COURSE FULFILLS THE SENIOR RELIGION REQUIREMENT.

PREREQUISITE: B or better in English or C or better in Honors British Literature