Raising Boys


When boys spend time in quiet reflection while listening to the wisdom of peers and teachers, they have space and time to think about their place in a bigger world. When they join together in song, they are united in a language that crosses all barriers and opens the door to joy in their school day.
We gather three times a week inside Grace Cathedral for Chapel, beginning and ending the week together as a full community – a rare feature of independent schools in the Bay Area. On Mondays, 8th-grade boys share their Chapel Talks; on Fridays, the community (including parents) gather at Hymn Sing to join together in song, as we have for nearly 60 years. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we have division-specific Chapels: Lower School Chapels focuses on lessons about values and introduces boys to the religions of the world, and Upper School Chapel offers a student-led forum to discuss the issues that are important to the boys from global issues to important topics immediate to the Cathedral community.

Religion at Cathedral

Cathedral does not take a dogmatic approach to religion, nor do we intend to indoctrinate students and graduate every boy as an Episcopalian. Religion at Cathedral focuses on character and values, and we aim to expose boys to the religions of the world by taking a pluralistic and inclusive approach to religion. Our hope is that no matter which religion a student ascribes to (if any), he will graduate with a stronger commitment to that faith.

Grace Cathedral and Cathedral School for Boys are connected legally and the School is a division of Grace Cathedral. Members of Grace Cathedral’s Board of Trustees sit on the Cathedral board, and likewise, members of the School’s Board of Trustees sit on the Grace Cathedral board. However, the Cathedral never dictates how religion is taught at the School, nor does it govern or manage the school. We are independently run by our Headmaster and Board of Trustees.

List of 2 items.

  • Lower School Religious Studies

    At Cathedral School for Boys, the religious education in the Lower School ranges from having the chaplain come and read books to helping the chaplain plan and lead chapel services. The aim is always to build character by creating space and time for deep thinking about what is good, right, just, and loving.
  • Upper School Religious Studies

    Religion class in the Upper School is an introduction to the field of Religious Studies, or the quest for understanding how people and communities come together over shared beliefs and morals. The boys read the Bible (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in fifth grade, and New Testament in sixth grade), not from a doctrinal perspective, but from a place of inquest: these documents have played - and continue to play - an immense role in our society. In the seventh grade, the boys learn about the world’s major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the eighth grade, the boys study World Philosophy, taking a look at morals and ethics and considering the question “What makes something morally right?”, creating their own "Worldview Paper" for their final project.

Chapel Services

Monday: All-School Chapel
Each Monday the entire school gathers to sing and listen to special speakers. This is when the eighth graders also give their Chapel Talks. The talks are set to a theme.
Tuesday: Lower School Chapel
On Tuesdays, the Lower School gathers for a Lower School Chapel with songs and spiritual talks that are age-appropriate for our younger boys. Each week we also include a special “Birthday Blessing” for the boys with a birthday that week. 

Wednesday: Upper School Chapel
On Wednesday, the Upper School gathers for Upper School Chapel, which is discussion-based and led by the “Chapel Squad,” a team of seventh- and eighth-grade students. We further the theme from Monday’s service, and allow boys to delve deeper into what the theme means in their lives. Once a month, instead of the regular Upper School Chapel, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist which is open to any boys who wish to partake in it.
Friday: All-School Hymn Sing
The beloved Hymn Sing is every Friday. We sing hymns selected by the boys, as well as hear an anthem from the Choristers. This is also the time when, if there have been any prayer requests made by a member of the community, the chaplain will offer special prayers at the end of the service. 

*Please note that Chapel has gone virtual in the 2020-21 school year. Our hope is to resume Chapel services next year; they take place in the apse of Grace Cathedral at 8:25 a.m. All are welcome! 

Special Services

Opening Chapel
At Cathedral School for Boys, we begin and end the school year in prayer. On our first day of school, we have a chapel service to celebrate that we’ve come together for the new school year, and to ask for God to bless the year ahead. We invite and encourage family and friends of the boys to join us for this wonderful start to the new school year!

Blessing of the Animals
In honor of our city’s patron saint, Saint Francis, who loved animals dearly, we come together on the first Monday of October to bless the animals in our lives. Families are invited to bring their real or stuffed animals to be blessed by the chaplain and clergy of Grace Cathedral.  

Grandparents & Special Friends Service
This beloved service is scheduled with the hope that family and friends who are gathered for the upcoming Thanksgiving might be able to join us in this celebration. This service combines the theme of “giving thanks” (in honor of Thanksgiving) and “serving others” (in honor of our Day of Service the day prior), as well as performances by the boys! 

Festival of Lessons & Carols 
One of Cathedral's most cherished traditions is the annual Lessons & Carols service. Held on the last day of classes before Winter Break, the entire school community gathers in Grace Cathedral to sing carols and hymns, hear lessons from the Gospels, and share prayers and blessings for the holiday season. The service ends with a rousing all-school rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to pause and reflect upon the many blessings within our community. In particular, upon the blessing of those in the graduating class. We honor them, and all our blessings, through this celebration and hope for what comes next.  All are welcome! 
Rev. Mark Stanger

(415) 614-5110

Cathedral School for Boys

Located in San Francisco, CA, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in grades K-8. Our Mission is to provide an excellent education through intellectual inquiry and rigor that is centered in the Episcopal tradition and is respectful of and welcoming to people of all religious traditions and beliefs.
1275 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108   •   Phone: 415.771.6600   •   Fax: 415.771.2547