To know oneself is to know the One who created you. At Mater Dei Academy, the Theology programme provides our students with the clear understanding of what we believe as Catholics and prepares them for the great mission entrusted to them through baptism. An outline of the content covered in the Theology curriculum is given below.
The Theology programme at Mater Dei Academy is based on a combination of Sacred Scripture and doctrinal formation. Scripture is the soul of theology. Through encounter with Sacred Scripture, both in the liturgy and in studies, the student encounters the Living God. Ultimately, the Bible transmits the Word of God that saves. Study of the Bible also furnishes the student with an awareness of the development of culture in Western Civilisation and so helps the student to understand their own cultural milieu. Through encounter with the variety of biblical characters; from the Patriarchs to the Prophets; the students enter into a world where the revelation of God's loving plan of salvation unfolds before our eyes. It is in this plan that each student finds their own place and through their studies, a deeper understanding of their own dignity and unique place in God's creation.
The Four Gospels together give testimony to the culminating events in Salvation History; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospels are the central books of the bible providing the student with the keys to unlocking the stories of the Old Testament as well as providing a witness to the Way, the Truth and the Life that the apostles and disciples of Jesus would later carry into the world. As a proclamation of God’s kingdom, the Gospels bring about a personal encounter between the student and Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World. The Gospels are not taught as museum pieces but as living documents, read and studied through the eyes of faith, overlapping with the liturgical services in which the students participate. Knowledge of the Gospel texts provides students with an understanding of the religious and social culture which they have inherited. The Apologetics section makes the student sensitive to misreading of Sacred Scripture and the need for criteria for interpreting the sacred text and instructs the students in how to dialogue with love and respect in the service of truth.
This year’s Theology programme equips the student with a biblical knowledge of the long- awaited Saviour, Jesus Christ, as He was anticipated in the Old Testament. Theoretical knowledge, coupled with prayerful meditation and contemplation, applied and put into practice in real life, leads the student into a real and personal encounter with Christ the Lord who leads us to God. This year’s programme highlights the need to recognise legitimate authority in interpreting Sacred Scripture. The student comes to appreciate Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church as divinely-instituted authoritative guides for the correct interpretation of the biblical word. The virtues expounded, with examples provided from the biblical characters and lives of the saints, provide for the student’s human and spiritual fulfilment. with the help of God’s grace.
The Church by its nature has a universal and a local dimension. Therefore, by including the History of the Church in Ireland within the history of the Church Universal, giving students a knowledge of Irish saints, customs and devotions, the students attain a tangible sense of the Church to which they belong and, from this, enhance their own Catholic identity. The student sees how the History of the Church, with all of its ecclesial and political tensions, is merely a playing out of theological disagreement through which the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth (c.f. Jn 16:13). The section on the History of the Church, which follows seamlessly from the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters, confirms the nature of the Church as the People of God on pilgrimage, often difficult, towards its perfection which will be finally attained at the Second Coming of Christ.