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RELIGION

Santa Margarita’s Religion Department supports personal inquiry into the religious dimensions of human existence, centered on Catholic faith and Christ, to impart an understanding of Catholicism for all students and to foster a Catholic identity for our Catholic students.

In alignment with the directives of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the religion curriculum at SMCHS is aligned with the Curriculum Framework for Secondary Education unanimously adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The Religion Department seeks to:

  • Develop a commitment and/or an attraction to the teachings and values of Jesus.
  • Promote a critical understanding of the tenets of Catholic faith, of our sacramental nature, of the Sacred Scriptures and of Catholic social teaching.
  • Promote the application of the Catholic spiritual tradition to daily living and service of others and to ethical reflection on what it means to live a faithful life.
  • Develop a sensitivity to the religious thought, practices and moral systems of non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian faiths.

View SEQUENCE OF COURSES

COURSES

Academic

0100A RELIGION 1: THE BIBLE, THE ETERNAL WORD / CHRIST: WHO IS JESUS
The first semester engages students in asking: How are God, the Trinity, and Jesus revealed through Tradition and Scripture? Multiple sources of Revelation are explored with a focus on Scripture, particularly an overview of the Old Testament, ways to approach and interpret Scripture, and specifically, the books of Genesis, Exodus, the period of Monarchy, and the Prophets.
The second semester further develops student understanding of the role of Tradition, the Church and human experience in God’s gift of himself in the person of Jesus. All three of the synoptic gospels (Mathew, Mark, and Luke) and the Gospel of John, as well as an overview of Acts and the Epistles, comprise the understanding of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within this understanding, students review concepts of Trinity, Incarnation, Grace, Prayer, and Living as a Christian, from the foundational study of the Gospels. The focus of this semester is connecting Jesus’ ministry to the ushering of the Kingdom of God.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grade: 9

0200A RELIGION 2: PASCHAL MYSTERY: MISSION OF CHRIST/THE CHURCH CONTINUES CHRIST’S MISSION
The first semester helps students to understand all that God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Students begin with reviewing the story of the Fall in Scripture and the Promise of a Savior, to practice their skills of approaching and interpreting Scripture. Students develop an understanding that God has planned for us to share eternal happiness with God through the saving action of Christ and that redemptive suffering is founded in love of the “other.” . They will learn how Christ’s life, death and resurrection (the Paschal Mystery) fulfill God’s promise of redemption, moving us to response in love and faith.
In the second semester, students grow to understand that in and through the Church, they encounter Jesus Christ. With a deeper delve into Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, they will learn that the Church was founded by Jesus and continues to be sustained by the Holy Spirit as the living Body of Christ to continue Christ’s work in the world. Through an understanding of the connectedness of the Father, Jesus and the Spirit, as expressed in the Church, students grow in their knowledge of the Trinity as well as an appreciation of the various models of Church.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grade: 10

0300A RELIGION 3: SACRAMENTS: CELEBRATING ENCOUNTERS WITH CHRIST / MORALITY AND ETHICS
The first semester helps students understand that they can encounter Christ today in a full and real way in and through the sacraments, and especially through the Eucharist. Students will examine each of the sacraments in detail so as to learn how they may encounter Christ throughout life in these sacramental celebrations. Additionally, students will reflect on the efficacy of the sacraments and on their nature as sacramental people as members of the universal sacrament that is Church.
The second semester helps students understand that Christ and God’s plan for human happiness are the foundations of Christian moral and thought and decision-making. Students reflect on their nature as being made in the image of God whose moral chices are their loving response to God, following the moral concepts and precepts that govern a Christian life to help them grow in the image of Christ. Students are also introduced to ethical theories and thought, as foundational to concepts of justice and the Common Good to guide application to specific moral questions in the areas bio=medical issues, economics, information technology, care of the earth and just peace.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grade: 11

0401AS RELIGION 4: COMPARITIVE COMMUNITIES OF FAITH
Comparative Communities of Faith examines the ways in which the major faith traditions of the world approach the various questions and issues of life, beginning with a focus on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue as articulated in the Catholic Church documents of Nostra Aetate and Gaudium et Spes. Students examine the teachings ethical norms, sacred texts and rites of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism guides students in approaching with reverence the teachings, rules of life and sacred rites of world religions. Students will be guided to examine the diversity of the world’s people, with the goal of respectful dialogue and global understanding
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

0402AS RELIGION 4: SOCIAL JUSTICE, RIGHTS, AND COMMUNITY
This course guides students in exploring and understanding the foundational principles of social justice, human rights, and the role of community. The social teachings of the Catholic Church regarding human dignity, poverty, discrimination, workers’ rights, solidarity, care for the creation, and just peace from the foundation for an inquiry into secular views on justice, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and John Rawls’ Theory of Justice. This course aims to inspire students to promote peace, forge advocacy roles, and provide service to others, applying theory to practice in areas such as economic rights, human trafficking, homelessness, and poverty.
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

0403AS RELIGION 4: SACRED SCRIPTURE: LENS OF JOHN
The Sacred Scripture course provides an overview of the Old and New Testaments (the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures), with a deepening of the socio-historical method of Scriptural interpretation. Students will learn the unity of the narrative for the divine plan of salvation and the continuous working of God’s action in the world in His desire to share His love with us, as inspired Revelation. The course then turns its lens on the Gospel of John the role of language and the symbol in the gospel, to exam its implications for believers in the early Church as well as for today’s time
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

0404AS RELIGION 4: THE HISTORICAL CHURCH THROUGH TIME
The Church through Time examines the history of the Catholic Church from its foundation to contemporary times, developing knowledge of the Church’s more than 2000 year old history in apostolic and post-apostolic times, its influence in the western world, particularly during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and Age of Exploration. The course then examines the emergency of the Church during industrialization and through two World Wars as a voice for justice and reform. Students come to appreciate that the Church through tine is the Body of Christ, evolving under the leadership of human successors to the apostles and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with both divine and human elements active in its history and development.
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

0405AS RELIGION 4: IDENTITY AND VOCATION
The course develops an understanding our identity as people called to live and respond to God’s call in our lives through prayer, discernment, and self-examination. Beginning with the student’s own spiritual profile and various models of spirituality in the Church (mendicant/Franciscan/Dominican, Ignatian, monastic/Benedictine), the course guides students in opening to the call of God, listening to God’s voice in their lives, and living with God in the world. Students then apply their developing spiritual insights to examining the vocations of married life, single life, and consecrated life, learning what is means to live in service of others and the value of fulfilling a vocation in service to the Christian community.
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

0406AS RELIGION 4: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THEOLOGY
The course help students learn methods of deductive and inductive reasoning to approach the ways in which philosophy has influenced the development of the theological thinking (Fides et Ratio, 1998), reconciling the complementary roles of faith and reason. The questions of “Who are we? Does God exist? Why is there evil? Why do Catholic’s believe as they do about existence, souls, sacraments, symbols? Do people have free will?” Students will read and discuss Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Suarez, and others to explore these questions and how they relate to their understanding of themselves and their relationship with God and society (CCC, no. 365, 1749-1756).
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12

International Baccalaureate

0300F RELIGION 3: SACRAMENTS: CELEBRATING ENCOUNTERS WITH CHRIST / PHILISOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THEOLOGY
The first semester helps students understand that they can encounter Christ today in a full and real way in and through the sacraments, and especially through the Eucharist. With an introduction to Plato and Augustine as well as to Aristotle and Aquinas, students develop a comprehension of the underlying philosophical foundations for sacramental theology. Students will examine each of the sacraments in detail so as to learn how they may encounter Christ throughout life. Additionally, students will reflect on the efficacy of the sacraments and on their nature as sacramental people as members of the universal sacrament that is Church.
The second semester helps students reconcile the complementary roles of reason and faith in approaching the metaphysical questions of “Who are we? Why am I here? Is there an afterlife? Does God exist? Why is there evil? What is my purpose in life?” (Fides et Ratio, 1998). These course questions are examined through the lenses of classic and medieval philosophy (Plato, Augustine, Aristotle, Aquinas) as well as Enlightenment and modern philosophical movements (Suarez, Descartes, Kant, Hobbes, Maritain, etc.) to explore what it means to be a human being. Additionally, students pursue the question of free will for the understanding of human nature and its relationship with God and society (CCC, nos. 1749-1756). Students examine challenges to the belief in God’s existence and to the existence of a human soul, evaluating some arguments for God’s existence and the unity of soul and body (CCC, no. 365).
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grade: 11
Prerequisite: IB Full Diploma Candidacy

Note: This is a college level course. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the corresponding Philosophy IB HL exam in their senior year.

0400F RELIGION 4: MORALITY AND ETHICS / COMPARATIVE COMMUNITIES OF FAITH
The Morality and Ethics course introduces students to moral and ethical reasoning, beginning with an examination of the Moral Law and Natural Law derived from Divine Inspiration, as explained by Aquinas and others. It will also uncover the depths of the Ten Commandments as a moral guide and ethical systems founded on absolute moral truths. Students continue reflecting on their human nature as being comprised of a unity of body and soul who seeks to the Good and who seek to model their lives on the life of Jesus Christ. Additionally, the schools of virtue ethics (through Aristotle and contemporary virtue ethicists), deontology (Immanuel Kant and contemporary deontologists), utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill and contemporary utilitarians), existentialist ethics, the Common Good, and theories with lesser influence are explored and compared with the Christian ethical perspective. Lastly, students examine the question of free will and determinism.
The Comparative Communities of Faith focuses first on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue as articulated in the Catholic Church documents of Nostra Aetate and Gaudium et Spes. The course helps students to understand the way in which the Catholic Church relates to other Christian denominations. Additionally, students will comprehend the Catholic approach to non-Christian faith traditions, specifically Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Students will also come to appreciate the diversity of non-Catholic faith communities, their Scripture, beliefs, rituals, and central ethics, and ways in which respectful dialogue and understanding can lead to unity. Secondly, students build on the foundation of God’s Revelation that finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ to uncover important spiritual truths in both Christian and non-Christian communities of faith. Students also critically reflect on questions and theories of God’s existence (teleological, cosmological, ontological) and the problem of evil.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grade: 12
Prerequisite: IB Full Diploma Candidacy Note: This is a college level course. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the corresponding Philosophy IB HL exam in their senior year.

Peer Ministry / Christian Leadership

0463AS RELIGION 4: MINISTRY OF CHRISTIAN VOCATION
The Ministry of Christian Vocation helps students to understand the ways in which God calls us to live and the ways in which we respond to God’s call, in prayer, discernment, and self-examination. Beginning with the student’s own spiritual profile and various models of spirituality in the Church (mendicant/Franciscan/Dominican, Ignatian, monastic/Benedictine), the course guides students in opening to the call of God, listening to God’s voice in their lives, and living with God in the world. Students then apply their developing spiritual insights to examining the vocations of married life, single life, and consecrated life, learning what it means to live in service of others and the value of fulfilling a vocation in service to the Christian community.
In the Ministry of Christian Vocation semester, students will serve and lead the faith community of SMCHS, planning and coordinating school Masses, school prayer services, retreats at all grade levels, praise and worship activities, and most importantly, are encouraged to create new opportunities for the SMCHS community. In order to both plan and implement these areas of ministry, students must be willing and able to attend meetings and events after school, before school, and/or on the weekends.
Length of Course: Semester
Open to Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Because of the nature of this class and what is expected of the students in the class, all interested students are required to fill out a detailed application, obtain two written recommendations, and go through an interview.

Note: Co-enrollment of 0462AS required.

Faculty & Staff

Katie Bystedt

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4245

Francis Cabildo

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 1517

Brian Cooper

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4129

Mark Cruz

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000

Margaret Hanley

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 1514

Maria Johnson

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4192

Jorge Ledezma

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4122

Randy Lopez

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4028

Leo Mendoza

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4130

Ann Nunes

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4051

Michael Omlin

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4030

Michael Pascual

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4015

Caitlan Rangel

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 1520

Megan Shaffer

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4128

Samantha Stephenson

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4174

Brandon Tait

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 1519

Jeffrey VanderWilt

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4091

Patrick Visconti

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 1513

John Wood

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4073

Sandra Wood

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 949-766-6000 ext. 4053

Faculty & Staff

Religion Department

Katie Bystedt

Religion Teacher

Francis Cabildo

Assistant Director of Campus Ministry - Retreats & Parish Outreach

Brian Cooper

Religion Teacher

Mark Cruz

Chaplain

Margaret Hanley

Assistant Director of Campus Ministry - Christian Service

Maria Johnson

Religion Department Chair and Religion and IB Philosophy Teacher, Staff

Jorge Ledezma

Religion Teacher

Randy Lopez

Religion Teacher

Leo Mendoza

Religion Teacher

Ann Nunes

Religion Teacher

Michael Omlin

Religion Teacher

Michael Pascual

Religion Teacher

Caitlan Rangel

Assistant Coordinator to Christian Services

Megan Shaffer

Religion Teacher

Samantha Stephenson

Religion Teacher

Brandon Tait

Assistant Coordinator of Retreats & Special Events

Jeffrey VanderWilt

Religion Teacher

Patrick Visconti

Director of Campus Ministry

John Wood

Religion Teacher

Sandra Wood

Religion Teacher

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