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The Religious and Ethical Studies program at Loyola is intended to provide the students with a sound formation in the basic beliefs, rituals and practices of our Faith. As stated in Characteristics of Jesuit Education, (paragraph 34), “Since every program in the school can be a means to discover God, all teachers share a responsibility for the religious dimension of the school. However, the integrating factor in the process of discovering God and understanding the true meaning of human life is theology as presented through religious and spiritual education. Religious and spiritual formation is integral to Jesuit education; it is not added to, or separate from, the educational process.”

Christian Service Program (CSP I to IV) Cycle One and Cycle Two-Year One and Two
A distinguishing characteristic of Jesuit education is to help students realize that individual talents are to be developed for the good of the whole community. Students are encouraged to use their gifts in the service of others out of love for God.

In order to promote an awareness of “service to others”, Loyola requires students in Cycle One and Cycle Two-Years One and Two (Secondary 1-4) to successfully complete a “service” course as part of their curriculum. This course includes the service itself (before and after Christmas), as well as, a reflection paper on the students’ experiences. Though this course is not as heavily weighted academically as other courses, failure to completely and adequately fulfill the requirements of this course will result in an overall failure of the course, and will be treated as any other subject in this respect. Students may not be promoted to the following academic year without the successful completion of CSP I to IV in both terms (before and after Christmas).

It is entirely a student’s responsibility to find acceptable service projects. However, students at Loyola are fortunate in that the school receives many requests for help from community organizations and parishes, and students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise.

Students are required to choose a variety of types of service work over their 4 years in this program:

  • Serving the wider communities (cancer fundraisers, sports tournaments, community days, etc.)
  • Serving others in a teaching role (peer-tutoring, after-school programs, coaching, Faith First, etc.)
  • Serving the Church or faith communities
  • Serving the Loyola school and community
  • Serving the poor and marginalized of society directly (disadvantaged, sick, elderly, physically or intellectually-challenged, etc.)

Christian Service Program (CSP V) Cycle Two-Year Three
In Cycle Two-Year Three, the service component is more in-depth. (For a full description of CSP V, please refer to the preamble in the Cycle Two-Year Three Religion program description.)

The program is designed to begin exploring the Christian story as recorded in scripture and key elements of religious traditions. Students are introduced to Biblical exegesis and the core elements of the Christian Faith through an overview of the main events in Salvation History. The themes of rites and rules, as well as the ethical issues of freedom and social order, will be dealt with as we progress through the course material. The program introduces students to our Christian heritage in the Hebrew Scriptures. Beginning with the Genesis creation stories and proceeding through Abraham, Moses, David and the Prophets, the students explore the key events leading up to the coming and the life of Jesus.

The Cycle One-Year Two program examines the development of the basic beliefs and practices of Catholicism. As part of the exploration of religious practices, the course will also examine how these practices have developed as part of Quebec society. The course explores the meaning of faith and belief in God in general and specifically how these ideas are expressed in the Catholic Faith. Key topics include: religious practices and beliefs, catechism and moral codes, Divine Revelation, the Seven Sacraments and an introduction to Catholic morality and the concepts of autonomy and inter-dependence.

This course on Catholic Moral Teaching is designed to explore some major existential questions such as: “What kind of person am I becoming, and what kind of person do I want to become?” While it centers on Jesus as the model of full humanness, it exposes students to some of the major ethical values and beliefs in our society. Topics in this course include: the Catholic vision of morality, moral decision making, good and evil, conscience, justice, honesty, respect for persons, the meaning of human life, compassion, sexuality, and peacemaking.

The course presents a concise history of the Catholic Church, covering the development of Catholic thought and action over the past two millennia. The course addresses how the Catholic Church was impacted by its interactions with Judaism, Is- lam, the Orthodox and Protestant churches, Native spirituality and the religions of the East. It addresses the development of Church teaching and practice, church-state relations, and the evolving Church response to things such as war, slavery, the status of women and people of other faiths.

This course first involves a comparative study of the major world religions of the world. Students examine religious praxis, sacred stories, myths, and rituals found in religious cultures. Basic philosophical and religious questions involving the role of faith, the existence of God, the meaning of life, the reality of good and evil, and love and suffering are discussed. The second half of the course investigates the justice dimension of faith by exposing students to the social teachings of the Catholic Church and their application to contemporary issues such as discrimination, human trafficking, economic and cultural globalization, workers’ rights, civic responsibilities and environmental issues. It contrasts the Church’s response with secular reactions and those of other concerned parties.

The Christian Service Program (CSP V) is a compulsory program for all Cycle Two-Year Three students, and is a requirement for graduation. CSP V provides an opportunity for students to experience the active dimensions of faith and justice by reaching out and working directly with people in need. During the semester in which the student is enrolled in CSP V, he will serve with a Community organization, which provides assistance to some of the marginalized people in our society. The student must serve at the placement assigned to him by the CSP Director. The period of service is during either the term before or after Christmas for roughly 2 hours a week over the course of 12 weeks (a minimum of 24 hours of service), or as dictated by the needs of the placement. Reflection Papers on his experiences, group discussions and a final group presentation are also compulsory components of the course.

In order to be eligible for the Loyola Diploma, the student must receive a satisfactory evaluation from his placement supervisor. Usually, a satisfactory evaluation indicates that the student has completed at least twenty-four hours of service at his placement and met the placement’s minimum expectations for volunteers.