In a Grade 6 world religions class, students were learning about meditation in the context of their study of Buddhism. The chaplain told of a Muslim student who selected a word from an Islamic text to use as a mantra in a meditation exercise and reported that she felt the “presence” of her recently deceased grandfather. Here was a Muslim child in an Episcopal parish day school, selecting a word from an Islamic text to use in a Buddhist meditation.
Rooted in the Episcopal tradition, St. Patrick’s School welcomes children and families from a variety of faith traditions and recognizes them as sources of richness and strength within the school community—in itself an expression of the Episcopal tradition.
Our relationship with St. Patrick's Episcopal Church is a central, distinguishing feature of life here and the foundation of our commitment to our students’ moral and spiritual growth and to their participation in the values and service to others that are further expressions of that tradition.
One can recognize the Day School’s Episcopal identity in a variety of program elements:
- All students attend chapel once a week. The three (Nursery and PK, Lower School, Upper School) chapels each week group students by grade level.
- There are also occasional all-school chapels—observing, for example, St. Francis Day, All Saints Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Easter—and Christmas Pageants that become important events for the entire community.
- Our Day School chaplain is present as teacher, preacher, and pastor to the St. Patrick’s School community.
- Lower School students have religion classes once a week, sharing Old and New Testament stories; learning about other faith traditions and celebrations across cultures and religions; and exploring the meaning of the basic principles of honesty, respect, responsibility, and kindness that comprise the School Creed.
- Upper School students have religion classes three times a week for one academic term each year. Courses include Old Testament, New Testament, world religions, and ethics.
- A longstanding tradition of community service cultivates habits of service that begin with three- and four-year-old Nursery Schoolers arriving at school with vegetables they will chop and cook to create soup that will be served to the homeless through the Salvation Army Grate Patrol program. During the school year, Grades 7 and 8 students study aging, hunger, and homelessness and volunteer with organizations that respond to those needs within the wider community as part of their service learning classes.
Finally, we hope that the fullest expressions of the Day School’s Episcopal identity are evident day in and day out in a nourishing and loving community that cultivates caring for and acceptance of one another as unique individuals and children of God—in classrooms and hallways, in how we value all of the participants in the teaching-learning process, in what we think is possible, and in how we work together.