Religious Education

Vincentian Charism
When, together with other members of the Vincentian Family, we share in the life and goals of the poor, we will discover the presence of the Spirit of the Lord who renews us to speak with them, listen to them, and consider them as the agents of their own way to liberation. Then we can let ourselves be evangelized by them.

Religious Education Programme
The aim of the Religious Education Programme is to assist our students in developing their Christian faith in a learning environment that is both academically challenging and spiritually rewarding. Inspired by the witness and vision of our patron St Vincent, our hope is to bring our students to a maturity in their faith.  St. Vincent’s teachings form the core of Castleknock’s philosophy, which is driven by a passion for education and guided by a simple truth:

Education is about more than getting a job; it’s about learning how to make a difference in the world. 

The Religious Education Programme develops the student’s awareness, understanding, knowledge and appreciation of their Christian faith and of the challenge to bring the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to all. There is also a strong ecumenical and inter- faith dimension to the curriculum, which finds expression and is enriched by our students of different denominations and faiths. Our programme is taught by highly skilled and qualified teachers, both Vincentian and lay staff.

Junior Cycle
All our students follow the Junior Certificate syllabus and sit Religious Education exams twice a year at the end of November and at the end of May.  The course seeks to promote an understanding and appreciation not only of the Catholic faith but of why people believe, as well as tolerance and respect for the values and beliefs of all. The programme offers the students the opportunity to develop an informed and critical understanding of the Christian tradition in its historical origins and its cultural and social expressions. The Junior Cycle Religious Education Programme is built around a framework of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes. Such a framework also prepares students for the Leaving Certificate course in Religious Education. The Syllabus sections include:

  • Communities of Faith.
  • Foundations of Faith. Christianity/Major World Religions.
  • The Question of Faith.
  • The Celebration of Faith.
  • The Moral Challenge.

Our Junior Cycle Programme also includes modules on St Vincent de Paul, The Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), The Society of St Vincent de Paul and on preparation for College liturgies  (including family masses) and Retreats.

Transition Year
During Transition Year , the Religious Education Programme introduces a modular system involving team teaching.  Throughout the year each student studies four courses under the guidance of different teachers.   The course content comprises a study of the following topics:

  • St Vincent de Paul and the Congregation of the Mission (The Vincentians) The Society of St Vincent de Paul
  • Social Justice in Ireland and the World
  • The Quest for Meaning and the Origins of Faith.
  • Christianity

Senior Cycle
All students study Religious Education at Senior Cycle.
For many of our students these two years will constitute the final ‘formal’ religious education that they will receive. With this in mind, the Religious Education Department has designed a Senior Cycle Programme that addresses many of the core issues of Christian faith and living.  The courses presented to the students during this two year cycle are based on the following areas…

  • Christian Morality & Ethics
  • World Religions
  • Relationships & Marriage
  • Christian Faith & Life

Religion as an exam option
Religious Education in the Leaving Certificate Programme explores issues such as the meaning and value of life, the nature of morality, the development and diversity of belief systems, the principles of a just society and the implications of scientific progress. This subject will suit students who are critical questioners and reflective searchers.  Having a personal faith commitment would make this subject more attractive but it certainly is not a pre-requisite. The course is intended to appeal to students of all faiths and none; personal faith will not be subject to assessment.

Syllabus Structure:

  1. The Search for meaning and values.
  2. Christianity: origins and contemporary expressions.
  3. Moral decision-making.
  4. Religion and gender.
  5. Issues of Justice and peace
  6. Worship, prayer, and ritual.
  7. The Bible: literature and sacred text.
  8. Religion: The Irish experience.
  9. Religion and science.

Over the two years of the course a study of 5 of the above topics will be undertaken. 4 of these will be assessed in a terminal written paper; the other will be assessed as coursework. Coursework is presented as a project and journal before the written exam and accounts for 20% of the overall result. Religious Education is available at Higher and Ordinary levels.