Mary McElroy
McGill-Toolen Class of 2011

By Rachel Robertson, Class of 2012

As a small town girl living in Robertsdale, Mary McElroy has always dreamed of living in the big city, and now she finally has her chance. Accepted to Barnard College in New York City, Mary has certainly made McGill-Toolen proud. Her hard work and leadership are exemplified not only through a rigorous course load but through varsity soccer and multiple clubs as well. Lettering in a varsity sport her junior and senior year, Mary has learned what balancing a schedule really means. Her commute to school takes an hour, and her soccer practice and homework often grow overwhelming. She explains that taking on so many responsibilities has taught her how to discover what is important in life: school, soccer, family, and friends. Even with athletics and academics, she always makes time for a social life. She credits McT for her Catholic education that readies her to face any challenge that may arise in the future. Devoted not only to God but to school as well, Mary serves in the Ambassador Club, National Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, Hi-Q Team, and The McGillian newspaper, using her impressive intellect to give back to McGill. She eagerly accepted the challenge of five AP classes her senior year, ultimately graduating with a 4.17 weighted GPA and 32 on the ACT. Becoming a National Merit Commended Student and voted Ideal Graduate of McT, Mary became the desired student of every college; she received an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy, was accepted to the Honors Program at Boston College, and was accepted to Fordham University where she was offered the Deanís Honor Scholarship. Despite all of her options, Mary was most attracted to Barnard College, where she will attend this upcoming fall majoring in environmental biology.


“Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”
— Pope John Paul II

The mission of McGill-Toolen is to provide an education that enables individuals to grow in faith, to search for knowledge and truth, and to continue building the Kingdom of God on earth.

Theology Department Requirements

Emphasis on spiritual growth and moral response are factors that contribute to the uniqueness of McGill-Toolen. To this end the Religion Department provides a program of formal religious training based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Encouraging understanding and respect for each individual, providing opportunities for prayer and worship, and promoting Christian service, the department aims to create a sense of community by which students come to realize that they are the Church.

Four credits in religion are required for graduation. All religion courses are noncontinuous. Students must pass each semester session.

Theology Department Goals

Respecting each McGill-Toolen student as God's unique creation, the Catechetical Team receives each one as God's special gift-in-trust. Consequently, the members of the Team see as their primary goal the development in each student of a personal relationship with the living God, present in God's world in Jesus Christ and in his members, individually and gathered as Church, through the action of the Holy Spirit.

To this end, the Team provides, as the basis for individual, spiritual growth and fuller religious commitment, a program of formal Christian instruction, founded on Divine Revelation within the context of the Roman Catholic tradition; provides opportunities for individual and communal prayer, for the celebration of the sacraments, particularly of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and for active participation in the liturgical feasts and seasons of the Church year; provides motivation and opportunities for loving Christian service within the home and in the local community, particularly on behalf of those in need; fosters a genuine community in which the needs of each member become the primary concern of all the rest, as all draw closer to the Lord, who is the Head of his Body, the Church on earth.

As a result of its ministry, the Catechetical Team strives:

  • To develop student awareness of God as Transcendent, yet present as Jesus in our world
  • To develop student understanding of the Scriptural basis for Christian beliefs and the Christian way of life
  • To develop student understanding of the human processes by which Christian doctrine, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has unfolded to its present state, and continues to develop
  • To develop student understanding of the rational basis for their faith and with sound criteria for assessing the values and claims of the world
  • To provide students with controlled circumstances in which they may exercise their developing powers of judgment and choice
  • To develop student commitment to social justice through the protection of human dignity and the promotion of the common good, as a means of building the Kingdom of God on earth
  • To develop student understanding of the sacramental system of the Catholic Church and to provide opportunities for creative planning of and participation in, worship services and celebrations of the sacraments
  • To provide students with instruction in, and opportunities for, varieties of prayer in private and in common
  • To provide students with opportunities to exercise the Christian leadership of service and love both within the school community and in work and those in need.

Readers Choice Award


Fun Photos McGill Toolen Photo Gallery

Follow McGillToolen on Twitter