Faith and Spirituality

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. Romans 1:11-12
 
We at Saint Olaf Catholic School, help our students RISE spiritually, according to our mission statement, by both fostering and nurturing a personal relationship with God through Catholic Faith Formation.  Whether a student is Catholic or not, we recognize the tremendous impact a solid moral foundation will have on who the student ultimately becomes.  Faith answers the "why" of almost every choice we make.  Our students learn to make choices based on the principles of unconditional love, respect, and service, ideally graduating from Saint Olaf with a faith that both guides and endures for their entire life. 

COMMUNAL WORSHIP THROUGH MASS
In everything we do, we seek to provide space for students to commune with God.  One primary place this occurs is in Mass.  Our school community attends Mass together every Friday.  Students intentionally sit together with teachers, classmates, and family.  Younger children are partnered with older students ("Mass buddies") at the beginning of the school year so that our youngest learners are mentored, cared for, and befriended and our older students learn to serve, protect, and guide their spiritual younger siblings.  These may be some of the first relationships our Pre-K and Kindergartners experience, and yet are often the longest lasting friendships.  A Mass buddy is a friend for life.  Not only do students participate in Mass through scripture readings, altar serving, gift-bearing, ushering, and choir, but students assist in planning each Friday Mass and are responsible for assigning and carrying out their duties as a class.  Students learn reverence by listening and participating appropriately at all ages, reading scripture as early as Kindergarten.  All students have a place in Mass from their very first days at school.  During homilies, students are able to respond to Father’s questions regarding Gospel readings, allowing students to share their own faith experience as they grow in Biblical knowledge.

COMMUNAL PRAYER
Just as Community is stitched into our very DNA, so too, is Faith and both become intertwined.  We recognize prayer is foundational to life with God and each other and therefore offer multiple opportunities throughout each day.  We begin and end each school day with prayer, scripture, and reflection.  This is done together over the intercom system and is often student lead.  We also have prayers for special intentions, grace before meals, and classes may pray at other various other appropriate times as needs arise. The school year begins with the Priest blessing the students and the school.  This is a very meaningful moment as we dedicate each year to the Lord and renew bonds with the Parish we are joined in community with. 
 
SCRIPTURAL APPLICATION
Another critical component to a Christ-centered life is Biblical know-how of what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Throughout the year, students discuss monthly Catholic themes and participate in religious centered projects.  Our religious curriculum was intentionally selected to align with our mission of Christ-centered learners.  The Finding God curriculum, used at St. Olaf, was designed to build a sound Biblical knowledge base and emphasizes daily life application, with the intent to foster hearts of service in its learners.  As students learn of Christ's sacrificial love and heart of service, we offer multiple opportunities for our students to do the same.  We don't just teach Faith, we aspire to live it!  
 
HEART TO SERVE
Students spend the year not only learning to serve each other, but also participate in projects that reach our local community, our country, and even the broader world.  From our partnership with the Parish for annual stocking stuffer Christmas projects, local food bank donations, and numerous additional "special" or "onetime" projects like "Stuff the Bus" where students and families provided basic care necessities for migrant workers in Tucson, to much larger scale projects like student mission trips abroad, we cover the globe with the love of Christ!  One of our favorite ways to serve others is through our monthly "Casual for a Cause" where students and families can highlight a specific cause, are made aware of needs, and can then contribute in both physical and financial ways.  At the students' request, funds were sent to France to help with the re-building of the Cathedral.  Locally, our students have rallied around several families with children who have Down Syndrome and have participated in and contributed to several causes giving scholarships and aiding in adoptions to other families with children who have Down Syndrome.  These events become our events as school, church, and family unite in Christ's love.  We truly transform our world one cause at a time.
 
RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS
Our school regularly uses signs, sacramental, traditions, and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. Signs of God’s presence are evident in each classroom through the display of crucifixes, religious bulletin boards, statues of Mary and the saints, and rosaries. These symbols serve as physical reminders of our school mission to be Christ-centered individuals in all we do-even during math class or on the playground!  We emphasize liturgical seasons by celebrating Mary in May, Advent, and Ash Wednesday. Our Christmas program celebrates the birth of Christ and students are welcome to join with the Parish community in re-enacting the Nativity story on Christmas Eve and to follow the Stations of the Cross during Lent.  These special services, programs, symbols, and traditions continually point our community back to Christ, and who He calls us to be, in all we do.  

Saint Olaf Catholic School’s Religion curriculum and instruction are faithful to Roman Catholic Church teachings. The Office of Education of the Diocese of Salt Lake City provides the framework for our curriculum. In selecting textbooks, we ensure that each series meets the requirements set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Also, we place particular emphasis on our Family Life Program and sacramental preparation.