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Theology Department Chair Dennis Brun '
Theology Dept. Chair Dennis Brun '85

As a Catholic institution, Carroll exists to form young disciples of Jesus Christ who will use their unique gifts and talents to make our world a brighter place for all to live.   While every aspect of life at Carroll high school helps to form young disciples in some way, our religion department plays a unique role in this formation.   Through academic instruction, reflection, and discussion, our religion courses invite students to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.  In tandem with our Campus Ministry department, students will have many opportunities at Carroll for spiritual growth.

At Carroll, we welcome students of all faith backgrounds.  All students enrich the learning atmosphere at our school, and are enriched by the values-centered education that we offer.

We look forward to welcoming your son/daughter at Carroll.

Sincerely,

Dennis Brun, Theology Department Chair

Course Descriptions

Religion is the heart of Carroll High School’s educational program.  Courses in the Religion curriculum are designed to give the student a strong foundation in Catholic Faith.  Eight semester courses, freshman through senior year, expose the student to the roots of our Catholic Faith, its origins and development, and its relevance and application to contemporary living and faith issues.  Elective courses invite the student to Christian service or to the study of other major world religions.

Introduction to Catholicism

Prerequisite: Must be non-Catholic and in a Catholic school for the first time.  This course replaces Introduction to Scripture.

This course is designed specifically for non-Catholic students coming to a Catholic school for the first time.  Introduction to Catholicism will help new students to understand the basics of Catholicism, its rituals, sacred texts, beliefs, and morals.  A significant segment of this course will be spent learning the sacred stories of the Old and New Testaments and introducing the Catholic approach to scripture.  Moving at a slower pace than other religion classes, this course is designed to help students to more seamlessly adapt to life in a Catholic school.

Introduction to Scripture

The purpose of this course is to give students a general knowledge and appreciation of Sacred Scripture.  Through study of the Bible, students will come to encounter the living Word of God, Jesus Christ.  Students will learn about the Bible, how it was formed, and how to read it.  Students will be introduced to important stories in Salvation History, from Abraham through the prophets, and how these stories point to the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ, as proclaimed in the gospel accounts.  While much of the content of this course will be from the Old Testament, this material will be examined through the prism of the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Gospels.

Foundations of Discipleship

This course introduces students to the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and the ultimate Revelation to us from God.  Students will learn that from the first moment of creation, God has planned for us to share eternal happiness with Him, which is accomplished through the Redemption of Jesus Christ.  Students will learn what Jesus taught, what it means to be a disciple of Christ, and what life as a disciple entails.  The main focus of this course will be the four gospels and the writings of the early disciples, with an emphasis on the ways that each of us is uniquely called by our baptism to follow Jesus.

The Church and Sacraments

In this course, students will examine the origin and foundation of the Catholic Church.  Students will dig deeper into the marks of the Church (one, holy, Catholic, apostolic) and reflect on the role of the Church in the modern world as both the Body of Christ, and the People of God.  Students will leave with a better understanding of the teaching office of the Church and how the Church’s leadership and sacramental life (through the guidance of the Holy Spirit) lead us to divine truth and invite us to a life of deeper faith and prayer as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Students will be able to identify the scriptural basis for each of the sacraments and recognize the ways that each of the sacraments can be beneficial to those who are trying to more closely follow Jesus.  Most importantly, students will learn that being part of the Church is an essential part of growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Christian Morality

This course provides a theological, philosophical, and scriptural framework for living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the modern world.  Students will grow in understanding of the foundational principles of morality that stem from Natural Law, Scripture, and Sacred Tradition and apply these principles to modern moral problems.  Students will grow in self-understanding of the ways that they, personally, make moral decisions and be challenged to think through moral problems logically and prayerfully.  Participants will learn about the importance of properly forming one’s conscience in light of Catholic moral teachings.

Peace and Justice

In this course, students will explore the rich tradition within the Catholic Church for bringing the gospel into the societies in which we live.  Drawing upon the wisdom of the prophets of the Old Testament, the example of Jesus in the gospels, and a long history of social encyclicals and church documents, students will be challenged to find ways to live as disciples in the modern world.  Students will learn the difference between personal sin and social sin, and the many social implications of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.  Students will explore a wide variety of social issues and will learn and apply the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching to each.

Church History

The primary focus of this course is the study of the Church and Salvation History as it has developed from apostolic times to the present.  Students will study each era of Church history critically, exploring both the challenges and blessings the Church encountered in each era.  Participants will be challenged to view Church History through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church’s identity and mission, and will leave with a better appreciation for some of the great thinkers, prophets, martyrs, teachers, and saints who have guided and inspired the Church and the world throughout the ages.  Through this study, students will acquire a clearer historical perspective on and appreciation for the Catholic Church that has emerged since Vatican II.

Vocations: Responding to God's Call

Grounded in Gospel teachings, the meaning of Christian love underlies this entire course.  Through reading, class discussion, and special assignments, students will be guided to a clearer understanding of themselves and of those with whom they relate.  Students will strengthen skills which identify and deal with factors that affect their relationships with family, friends, and associates.  This course focuses on Christian living in the contemporary world.  It helps students to better their relationships as single, religious, or married persons.  Since it is in the family that we first define our identity and our relationships to others, the importance of family life within the Christian context will be stressed.

Christian Leadership and Vocations

Prerequisite: Application Process

The goal of this course is to empower our students for Christian leadership in a challenging world.  Drawing on the example and words of Christ, inspirational leaders in Church History, and significant Church documents, students will be challenged to discover and live out their baptismal call to holiness and service.  The course will be divided into two distinct sections. The first section focuses on discovering the importance of leadership through following our Vocational calling to our state of life (Marriage, Holy Orders, Single Life).  The second section features learning Christian leadership principles that will carry into current and future career choices.  Students will learn and implement practical leadership skills through planning service projects, mentoring, peer ministry training, speaking and listening skills, and conflict resolution.  Students will discover various leadership styles and models, and, through course activities and discussions, identify their own gifts, strengths, and personal leadership style.  Students will investigate the theological foundations, practical challenges, and best practices for leading people to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ in hopes that our students may be effective leaders of the New Evangelization in our increasingly secular culture.

Senior Electives

World Religions

This course surveys the major religious traditions active in the world today.  It attempts to promote compassion and community with all people in the spirit of the teachings of Vatican II, which encourages dialogue and understanding between Catholics and people of other faiths.  This course will examine sacred space, time, writings, beliefs and practices, history, and other important elements of each of the world’s major religions.  Each religion's characteristics and beliefs will be analyzed through the lens of Catholicism and the person of Jesus Christ.

Prayer and Spirituality

This course will examine how prayer has been understood and practiced throughout two thousand years of Catholic Christianity.  Prayer will be studied as an essential means to growth in self-knowledge, one’s relationship to God, and strengthening believers to bring Gospel-centered values into our world as disciple of Christ.  The course will include a variety of prayer experiences incorporating (but not limited to) different ways to pray such as music and prayer, meditative prayer, and silent prayer.  While prayer experiences of other major world religions might be examined, all prayer experiences will be rooted in Jesus Christ.  There will be an emphasis in the hope, wisdom, and guidance Christ gives to us in a world in crisis.

Faith in Action

Note: This course takes place over the summer prior to a student's senior year

It is our hope that study and reflection on the Catholic faith bears fruit in faithful deeds.  This course provides a structured opportunity for students to act upon their Christian faith.  Forty hours of service in one community service setting is required.  Periodic class meetings conducted outside the school day are scheduled and must be attended.  These class meetings help the student by giving direction, allowing for reflection, and giving support.  The course includes academic assignments in addition to the required hours of service.

Justice and Service Immersion

Note: Students must apply for and receive department approval prior to participating in this immersion experience. This course takes place during the summer prior to a student's senior year.

The Justice and Service Immersion attempts to integrate what students have learned in their Peace and Justice class with a real-world service-learning experience.  In this six-day program, students perform between 30-40 hours of community service and reflect on that experience in light of scripture and Church teachings.  Students are engaged in discussions on justice issues, prayer, journaling, and simulation activities on contemporary issues.  Spots in the immersion are limited.  The program is traditionally held in the City of Dayton.  Students involved in this program must be able to meet numerous academic requirements, including assigned reading, written assignments, and a theological reflection paper.  Students must apply for and be accepted into this program. Teacher recommendations, discipline history, attendance history, and the application itself are all used to determine acceptance in the program.

Department Faculty

Mr. Dennis Brun '85, Chair

M.A. Theology, University of Dayton

Mrs. Melissa (Balsom) Fisher '83

M.S. Reading Education, University of Dayton

Mrs. Abby (Wiles) Merkle '11

B.S. Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Mr. Jim Murray

B.S. Education, University of Dayton

Mrs. Martha Saurine

M.S. Religious Education, University of Dayton

Mr. Tim Wiedenmann

M.A. Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville