Seattle’s Jesuit College Prep School Since 1891

Theology

Department Mission Statement

Grounded in the gospel call and the Jesuit tradition, religious education at Seattle Preparatory School blends theory and practice, doctrine and spirituality, academic knowledge and affective formation. Beginning with the student’s experience, this education combines the history, beliefs, and practices of the Catholic Church with a faith-building method that respects the variety of religious traditions alive in the Prep community and the world at large.


Freshman Theology Curriculum

Grade 9 Foundations in Faith (one semester)
This is an overview of Catholic Christianity, with topics including God, Faith, Jesus, Church, Sacraments, Identity and Development and St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits). Students with also explore various forms of prayer and share perspectives on personal faith experiences. (Semester-long)

Grade 9 – Collegio (one semester)
Collegio also covers the following theological and religious themes and students are awarded a semester’s worth of graded credit in Theology: Scripture, Church History, World Religions, Christian Service

Sophomore Theology Curriculum

Grade 10 - Scripture and Morality (one semester)
This course is an overview of the Christian Scriptures, which contain both the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and the New Testament. We will begin with an introduction to the Bible itself: how to use it and how it came into being in the form we now have it. Students will study Scripture from many perspectives: literary, contextual, historical-critical, social and theological. Our emphasis will be contextual, not literal. (Semester-long)

Grade 10 – Collegio (one semester)
Collegio also covers the following theological and religious themes and students are awarded a semester’s worth of graded credit in Theology: Catholic Social Teaching, Global Community, Christian Service.

Junior Theology Curriculum

Grade 11 – Junior Theology: Self, Society and Theology (full year)

“Theology is faith seeking understanding” - St.Anselm

In junior year we delve more deeply, as well as broaden our understanding of what it means to be a Christian – a disciple of Christ – in light of the rich tradition of Catholic Christianity. Some of the essential questions we explore are: Who am I? Who/What is the Ultimate Reality? What does it mean to be a Catholic/Jesuit? What does it mean to be human in a similar manner as Jesus? This course combines the topics of Exploring Self (One’s Identity, Spirituality, Faith and Beliefs, Morals and Values) and Society (Service, Justice, Ethics and the Church) through a variety of theological lens. Christian Service (30 required hours), Reflection Essays and the Self Presentation are at the center of the experience in Junior Theology. (Year-long)

Senior Theology Curriculum

Grade 12 – Senior Seminar 2016 (one semester)

All seniors will be required to take a Senior Seminar second semester. They can use it either as a Social Studies or a Theology credit. The seminars are multi-disciplinary, team-taught courses.

  • Disease and Social Responsibility is a capstone seminar course designed to empower students to become agents for change. The course employs an interdisciplinary approach, including scientific, theological, socio-historical and ethical methodologies, to understand the proliferation and treatment of infectious diseases in the context of diverse global cultures and economies. Building on students’ broadening experiences of service through high school, they will explore justice work through advocacy for the larger human family.
  • Economics, Ecology and Ethics explores the dynamics of these three complex fascinating areas and their effects on the future of our nation and planet. The Global Water Crisis will be at the heart of our exploration, examining it through the lens of these three distinct, yet interrelated disciplines.
  • Themes in Literature: Forgiveness and Reconciliation will address the issues of forgiveness and reconciliation as students encounter them in their own lives and in the larger world. It will begin by examining the need for self-forgiveness, move to forgiveness of family and friends, and culminate in the study of the role of forgiveness and reconciliation in a number of global issues with an emphasis on social justice.
  • Literary Explorations of Human Nature: will focus on the following main themes. Personal corruption and the ways inordinate attachments affect the individual, corporate/ social corruption and the ways individuals contribute to this, and how an individual and a society grow toward wholeness as defined by the "Grad at Grad." Students will explore each of the themes through personal meditation based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and reading & discussing literary works. Central questions: In spite of societal and personal pressures to do otherwise, how does one go about making choices that are consistent with his/her conscience? How can an active reflection practice help on make good choices? How do one's individual choices affect the greater community (and vice versa)?

Grade 12 – Electives (each class is one semester)

  • Faith in Action – This is a hands-on planning and senior peer ministry course. It will provide leadership opportunities in the areas of liturgy, retreats, and service.
  • Psychology of Human Relating – An overview of human psychology and Catholic Christian Anthropology with regard to the self and relationships with others. Topics include: Communication, Immediate Systems (family and friends), Larger Systems (society, culture, media), Life Choices and Sexuality.
  • East-West Meditation Practices - This course will explore various Sacred Traditions and their spiritual practices. We will experience how their teachings and meditative practices can support personal and global change and transformation. Half the class will be devoted to practicing different meditation/prayer methods and half to researching the teachings, cultures and consciousness within them and out of which they emerge. Various Christian Contemplative practices, Buddhist (Zen and Mindfulness practices), and Coast Salish Native spirituality, along with Yoga, Tai Chi, nature skills, music, and movement prayer all will be explored.
  • Ethics and Morality – Students can expect faith-based research and discussion of important contemporary ethical issues within broad social categories such as sexism, racism and ecology to name a few. Half the class will be teacher directed and half will be guided by student interest and research. In addition to what the Catholic Church teaches relative to moral decision-making and ethical principles, students will learn to explore the complexities of these and other contemporary issues and will focus on the following questions: What does it mean to be a good person? How can we hold our actions—as persons, communities and institutions—to high ethical standards? When, how and in what ways do we act ethically on behalf of others and the principles we espouse?

meet the department chair


Deana Duke McNeill
began teaching at Seattle Prep in 2006. Her educational background includes a BA in History (1986) and a MA in International Studies (2002) from the University of Washington. She endeavors as much as possible to combine her love of teaching with her love of travel and has participated in several study abroad and service immersion trips, traveling independently and with students, to a variety of countries including: the Dominican Republic, Israel/Palestine, China, much of Western Europe and Australia. She is the mother of two, grandmother of three and hopes to continue to work with and be inspired by Prep students for a long time to come