The mission of the Department is “to inspire students to find God in all things through study, reflection and action within the Roman Catholic tradition.” To that end the Religious Studies curriculum challenges each student to grow in his respect and appreciation not only of his own faith and values, but also of the faith and values of others.
As students gain knowledge in the history, beliefs and moral standards of the Catholic tradition, they are assisted by the faculty in developing their own religious identity based on their personal convictions and free response to God’s grace which leads toward greater love and service to others.
The first year of the Religious Studies curriculum fosters the search for a greater understanding of what it means to both believe in God and be in relationship with God.
1st Semester: Christ in Scripture As new members of a community of faith, students explore what it means to be in relationship with God. Students receive a general knowledge and appreciation of sacred scripture, and through their study of the Bible they encounter the living word of God, Jesus Christ. Students are also aided by an examination of the life of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, and explore central concepts of Ignatian spirituality that they apply to their personal faith life and the life of the Fordham Prep community.
2nd Semester: Christology: Who is Jesus? Students are introduced to the mystery of Jesus Christ, the living word of God, the second person of the Trinity, and grow to understand that Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation to us from God. In learning about who Christ is, the students, like St. Ignatius before them, also learn who Christ calls them to be.
In the first semester, students explore God’s promise of salvation by exploring in depth the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the implications of the Paschal Mystery for the Christian life. In the second semester, students examine the origin, structure and mission of the Catholic Church, and the role the Church plays in the life of the Christian.
In the junior curriculum our subject matter--living a sacramental and moral life in Christ--invites us to take a faith-filled and scholarly look at how the Spirit of Jesus Christ has been made manifest in history, and how that Spirit enables us to live lives of virtue and justice. In the first semester we examine the Sacraments as transformative encounters with Jesus Christ. The Eucharist, as source and summit of the Catholic life, will receive special attention. We will also connect our understanding of the Sacraments to the Ignatian insight that "God can be found in all things," and reflect on how God's presence can be discerned in our personal experience.
The second semester looks in particular at the moral dimension of our individual and communal experience. Our study will flow from the central biblical claim that all people are made in the image and likeness of God, and that we are called to live lives in which the dignity of all people is recognized, protected and promoted. Students are introduced to general Catholic moral theology with topics including virtues and character, moral rules and principles, conscience and discernment and how a more just and loving world might be created. We will use that theology to grapple with the great ethical challenges of our time.
The senior-year curriculum attempts to synthesize the three-year foundation in Scripture, Christology, Sacraments and Church History by focusing on the journey of life in faith. Seniors study the relational aspects of the Christian vocation in three specific areas: the response in love to self (psychology), the response in love to others (morality) and the response in love to God (spirituality). Each section views this common core through a particular lens.
The areas of concentration offered are listed below. One concentration is required of each senior.
- Christian Quest for Social Justice
- Men & Masculinity
- Philosophy of Religion
- Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith
- Seminar Honors
- Theology of Sport
- World Religions