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Understanding the Catholic Mass

St. Jean Vianney said, “If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy!” The Biblical context of the Catholic Mass enlivens and enlightens our participation in it each and every Sunday (or daily), and learning about our role within this Divine Liturgy in addition can bring us closer to God in a profound way.

This course will take a deep dive into the use of scripture and tradition to bring to light each part of the Mass from the entrance through the dismissal. We will read through Dr. Edward Sri’s text, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, while reading from the Early Church Fathers, the Bible, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to enrich our knowledge and discussions.

This class will be centered on an understanding of the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form of the Mass), but we will also learn basic ecclesiastical Latin vocabulary and memory verses pertaining to both the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass. No prior Latin knowledge is required for this course.



Mrs. Minehart’s Syllabus

Scholarship Skills

  • No prior Latin knowledge required.
  • 8th graders permitted on individual basis. Please inquire with instructor.
  • For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
    • With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
    • Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
    • Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.


    • Mastered
      • Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
      • Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
      • Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
      • Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
      • Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
      • Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.


    • Mastered
      • Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
      • Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
      • Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
      • Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
      • Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
      • Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
      • Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
      • Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
      • Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.


    • Mastered
      • Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
      • Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
      • Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
      • Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
      • Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.


    • Mastered
      • Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
      • Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
      • Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
      • Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.


    • Mastered
      • Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
      • Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
      • Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
      • Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
      • Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.


    • Mastered
      • Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
      • Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
      • Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
      • Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
      • Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).

Required Resources:

  • A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Dr. Edward Sri
    • Paperback (July 30, 2021), Ascension Press, 2nd Edition
    • Must have physical copy, digital versions not permitted
  • Latin Grammar for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary
    • Cora Carroll Scanlon, A.M., Charles L. Scanlon, A.M. Paperback (1976 edition)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
    • Any physical copy, digital versions not permitted.
  • Bible (New American Bible) (must have personal physical copy – cannot use someone else’s Bible)

Monika Minehart  has been working in Catholic Religious Education for over a decade, serving as both a Youth Minister & Director of Religious Education at several Catholic Churches. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Early Christian Studies from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in Divinity from the University of Chicago with a focus in Biblical Studies and Koine Greek. Having observed teaching styles in a wide array of school settings (homeschooling, private, public & charter) in her own education and that of her children, she understands the necessity of restful learning wherever you may be attending school. Monika is passionate about reinvigorating Catholic catechetical programs through relational ministry using the mediums of literature, music, and art. She is delighted to be an instructor with the Aquinas House of Studies at Scholé Academy. Monika cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband and four children, enjoys weightlifting and exercising in her garage gym, and loves listening to uplifting music.



Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.



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