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BISHOP McNAMARA HIGH SCHOOLA Catholic, Holy Cross, Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Grades 9-12


Mr. Justin McClain, Theology teacher at BMHS, challenges his students to Think with Christ

The faculty of the Bishop McNamara High School Theology Department is a dedicated group of gifted educators who seek to follow Father Moreau’s directive:

"To educate both the heart and the mind."

To this end, the theology department focuses their effort on both the spiritual and intellectual development of all students so that they may come to better know God, humanity, and self. This goal is achieved through a comprehensive and rigorous four-year academic program that educates in and through the Holy Cross Tradition in a way which is authentically Catholic.

Within the theology department, students will encounter a professional and experienced faculty who use a variety of different teaching methodologies to meet the needs of our diverse student body.

Through our four-year, college preparatory curriculum, we seek to engage our students in matters of scriptural, historical, ritual, global, moral, and ethical significance in ways which will be both formative and transformative. We teach our students to think with Christ, a process which is to be animated by the Gospels and lived out daily. Students are challenged to think critically about major moral and ethical dilemmas and place these within the context of their own lives. Students are taught to effectively engage a wide variety of different religious texts, works of art, and medias. Key skills emphasized and instructed within the context of our courses include, but are not limited to, written and oral presentation of information, classroom debates, research methods, and inter-religious dialogue.

In addition to traditional coursework, we work closely with our Campus Ministry program to meet our students where they are on their spiritual journey. 

Students form closer relationships with Christ and greater intimacy with themselves -

  • through monthly liturgies
  • retreat programs
  • Holy Cross Service Program - students serve the most vulnerable in our community in imitation of Christ

Ultimately, it is the goal of the theology department to educate the whole person. To this end, the department fosters meaningful relationships with the other academic departments and programs at Bishop McNamara High School. Additionally, we maintain close working relationships with the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Archdiocese of Washington, and numerous other organizations which sponsor opportunities for further student and faculty development.


About Our Faculty

The devoted faculty of the Theology Department includes nine full time members with over 90 years in Catholic education, nearly 70 of those years having been taught here at Bishop McNamara.

Our Theology, Religious Studies, and Professional degrees come from colleges and universities such as Borromeo College of Ohio, The Catholic University of America, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Gettysburg College, Holy Apostles College & Seminary, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola University (Maryland), University of Maryland, Seton Hall University, University of Virginia, and Xavier University (Ohio).

All members of the Theology Department are certified to teach Theology through the Archdiocese of Washington.


All students must complete four credits of Theology.

Theology 9: Holy Cross Experience, The Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture & Who is Jesus Christ?

Theology 10: The Mission of Jesus Christ & The Mission continues in the Church.

Theology 11: Life in Jesus Christ and Living as a Disciple of Jesus Christ in Society.  

Theology 12: Sacraments as Privileged Encounters with Jesus and Ecumenical and Interreligious Issues.

Peer Ministry

For full descriptions of these courses and any prerequisites,  go to

Clubs & Organizations

For those interested in engaging in theology outside of the classroom, students can participate in: 

  • Pro-Life/Pure Love Committee
  • Life Information for Teens (LIFT).


Do all students have to take theology? Even if they're not Catholic?

Yes, all students at BMHS are required to take four years of Theology. Students of all faiths are invited to take the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith. Students are graded on knowledge and effort, not on belief.

Is what you teach in line with the Magisterium of the Church?

We are fully consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and our teachers are certified by the Archdiocese of Washington.

Do all students have to participate in liturgies & retreats?

Yes, the Campus Ministry program at BMHS is an integral part of the formation of our students. All students, regardless of faith tradition, are required to attend a yearly retreat and our all-school liturgies each month. They play an essential role in forming our identity as a community.

Are you liberal or conservative?

Bishop McNamara High School is a Catholic school in the Holy Cross tradition which ministers to the needs of the diverse Church that exists within the Archdiocese of Washington. Our diversity benefits all members of the community.

What is your school doing about the USCCB's recommendations about curriculum changes?

Like all other Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington, we implemented a new curriculum that is in accordance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' framework, effective August 2010. Through our work with the Archdiocese, our curriculum is aligned with the requirements of the new curriculum while also remaining true to our charism as a Holy Cross school and ensuring that we meet our students where they are.

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