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Department Overview

father john
Father John McCusker, O.S.B., '01
Department Chair

It is the particular task of the Theology Department of the Saint Louis Priory School to introduce the boys to serious Catholic Theological study. The Theology Department’s approach to the teaching of the Catholic faith is based on a triad of foundational texts: the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Roman Missal. Textbooks and other educational aids are employed to help the boys understand these fundamental sources of Christian doctrine and worship.

The program is progressive in nature. Thus the first three years of Theology are primarily narrative in content. In Form I, the Old Testament is read as the preparation for the coming of Christ; in Form II, the New Testament is read as the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption. In Form III, Church history is taught as the continued unfolding of God’s plan for his people over time.

Theology in Form IV is the systematic presentation of dogma as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is supplemented by the writings of contemporary theological thinkers. Building on their work in Form IV, in Form V, the students receive a year of instruction in moral theology: the commandments of God, as known by faith and reason. In the final year, we offer a variety of synthesis courses that give scope for them to start to “think theologically” in a college-style seminar format. The Christian faith is thus systematically presented in a Christocentric light and as inseparable from the life of faith and worship.

At all levels of the curriculum, the Mass is explained in the light of biblical typology and studied in order to show how the Creed and sacramental doctrine are lived out in the life of worship. The students learn to use the biblical readings of the Missal as the key to Lectio Divina (the meditative reading/praying of Scripture).

The Theology Department works in conjunction with Chaplaincy, to give wise and careful attention to each boy insofar as his faith is part of his core and identity. Our hope and aim is for each boy, whether Catholic or not, is to find in theological study the practice of faith seeking understanding, to use Saint Anselm’s justly famous expression.


Faculty Members Course Assignments, 2016-17
Father John McCusker, '01, Department Chair Form III
Mr. Thomas Carroll Form VI
Father Cuthbert Elliott, '02 Form III
Father Michael Brunner Form V, Form VI
Brother Justin Hannegan Form IV
Father Francis Hein Form II, Form VI
Father Cassian Koenemann, '99 Form II, Form V, Form VI
Father Aidan McDermott Form I
Father Gregory Mohrmann, '76 Form VI
Mr. Steve Rolwes Form IV
Father Maximilian Toczlowski, '00 Form I, Form IV
Father Augustine Wetta Form I, Form VI

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
P. 314.434.3690    F.314.576.7088
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