Faith Development

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A Letter from our Pastor…

The Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools (BCACS) teach in the way that Catholic Schools have taught for over a thousand years, incorporating both faith and reason. Pope Saint John Paul II once said that faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. With the aid of technology, math, science, reading, writing, history, and the development of critical thinking our students are fully equipped for modern society. Our students have the highest test scores in the area.

Our students are also given the opportunity to develop a relationship with our Lord, not only to know about Him but to also know Him in friendship. Through classes in theology, sacramental preparation, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, daily prayer, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation, and service to the community the students grow in relationship with Christ.

The Scientific Method was developed at the great European Catholic Universities by Catholic scientists. They wanted to better understand the world, which is God’s marvelous creation. With a better understanding of this world, they could give greater glory to God. Again, faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.

Our goal is to instill wonder in our students, wonder in all the workings of God’s world and God Himself, because wonder is the desire of knowledge.

Reverend Christopher Ankley
Pastor of St. Joseph and St. Jerome Church


Students, along with their parents blessing, may prepare for and receive the following Sacraments:

The Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.

Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.

Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Information from the website American Catholic.

School Masses
St. Joseph Catholic Elementary and Middle Schools have a student-led school Mass every Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

St. Philip Catholic Central High School has a student-led school Mass every Friday at 8 a.m. at St. Philip Catholic Church.

Community Service

“We are not just educating the students in our Catholic Schools in our diocese; we are forming them in their faith, and helping to shape them into disciples of Christ who will go forth into our community and world to accomplish great things, such as: joining the rallying cry to protect the unborn; responding to the needs to feed the poor, clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless; reaching out to help defend principles of freedom through military service; getting married and raising a family that will continue the practice of the faith; hearing God’s “call” to enter into religious life or to be ordained as a Priest of Jesus Christ; using their excellent academic education to find the cure for cancer or to bring peace to the world. Any one of our Catholic School students can, and God willing, will accomplish great things because of their Catholic School education”.
– The Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley, Bishop

St. Joseph Elementary
Each class from preschool through fifth grade participates in a Service Learning Project. The project may benefit a local group or agency, or a national or global organization. Staff introduces and discusses the project with students before implementing. Often, the whole school will become involved in a grade’s project.

St. Joseph Middle School
Sixth grade students are to participate in 10 service hours during the school year. Seventh grade students are to participate in 15 service hours during the school year. Eighth grade students are to participate in 20 service hours during the school year.

Students who are part of the National Junior Honor Society (7th and 8th grades) must have an additional five service hours. Students receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation must have two additional service hours focused on the Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Service opportunities are available to students through coordinated efforts between staff and local agencies, such as the Food Bank and the Salvation Army. Additional opportunities are available through Parish events, such as our annual Superfest.

St. Philip Catholic Central High School
Every student must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service per year. Service hours are required as part of the students graduation requirement and as a grade for Theology. Students who are members of the National Honor Society must have an additional twenty hours of service.

Students may submit up to 6 service hours completed at school or your place of worship. The remaining 14 hours must be completed at any of the pre-approved non-profit agencies.

Charitable Union
Hands on Battle Creek
Food Bank
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Humane Society
St. Joseph Shut-Ins
American Red Cross
Sunday Suppers: St. Philip Parish

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd & the Atrium
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was founded in the 50’s by two Italian laywomen, one a scriptural scholar and one an expert in Montessori education. Together they conceived of a simple, attractive method for sharing the richness of the Faith with children, who are uniquely capable of accepting the beauty of God’s love. The program is presented in three levels, and includes time in the “Atrium,” which is a quiet environment where children learn through tactile play.

Catechesis of the Good shepherd emphasizes quiet contemplation and — imagine this — “the enjoyment of God.” The children hear Bible stories and watch them acted out with simple materials; they learn songs and prayers, and are encouraged to play quietly with simple and meaningful objects. One mother explained that CGS “cracked the code” of the Mass for her son, as he learned to become alert to the details of the liturgy: the significance of color, the names and purposes of the various vessels and tools on the altar.

The Atrium
The Atrium is a special place at St. Joseph school, where our “littlest learners” discover many facets of our faith. It is specially designed with child-sized furniture including a prayer circle for gathering, a model altar, as well as a variety of materials that encourages their awareness of the Bible, faith and the Mass itself. The Catechesis of the Good Shepard is a specialized program which focuses on the religious formation of our youngest children.

Upon entering the atrium, the children demonstrate a clear sense of reverence, respect, patience and wonder. It is apparent, even at their young ages, that the children understand that this space is truly special.

Senior Capstone
Diocese of Kalamazoo Capstone project requires all graduating high school seniors to demonstrate their depth of understanding of the Catholic faith through a presentation on a selected topic before a panel of theological and academic experts. Each presentation will showcase the student’s academic, organizational, presentation and leadership skills acquired through an organized effort among all content area teachers over the course of four years. This project will be scored and a student must earn a minimum proficiency grade in order to meet this new graduation requirement. In addition to this graduating requirement, the top students from each school will compete for 10 scholarships ranging in value from $500 to $5,000. To assist each student, they will be assigned a mentor during their junior year to guide them and help them meet deadlines.

Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools

Students will know the Faith, share the Faith, and live the Faith

Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131