Raising Boys


At the spiritual center of the Cathedral School is the cultivation of a community where everyone belongs; where one’s heart, mind, and soul are nourished; and where each boy is known and loved. Like Episcopal schools around the world, guided by our School Chaplain, our non-dogmatic approach to faith is anchored in love, goodness, and justice — finding expression chiefly through our chapel program, the religion curriculum, the service-learning program, and the close partnership between the chaplaincy and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program. 
Gathering for worship in Chapel is essential to what it means to be a member of Cathedral School for Boys. An alternative to the busyness and distractions of contemporary life, Chapel is a time to gather for music, prayer, stories, silence, and reflection. As a space where boys learn to listen and speak from the heart, Chapel promotes a genuine sense of belonging, integrity, and trust. Its sacred purpose connects us to the awe, beauty, and mystery of the divine. Even for those who are agnostic or atheists, Chapel is a place of celebration at times of joy, a place for reflection and dialogue in times of difficulty, and the first place we turn to in times of grief or crisis. Chapel services provide us with a common platform, a common language, and a common expression of who we are.

Religion at Cathedral

In Episcopal schools, the study of religion is considered part of what it means to be an educated, literate, and reflective person. Through scholarly exploration and experiential education, we use the majestic space of Grace Cathedral as an entry point for understanding spiritual and religious approaches to life, arts, culture, and the practice of justice.
Lower School students learn about religion by exploring the diversity of holidays, festivals, and rituals found within both the Episcopal tradition and religious traditions throughout the world.
Each year in Upper School, students have Religion class integrated into their ongoing curriculum. Grade 5 and 6 students explore faith and spirituality by focusing on the stories, practices, questions, art, and locations central to world religions. Grade 7 and 8 students compare the lives, leadership, and philosophy of key figures, including Moses, Jesus, Plato, Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Saint Francis, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Religion curriculum culminates with each Grade 8 student writing a spiritual or philosophical treatise about himself that becomes his ‘Chapel Talk,’ which he delivers before his family, classmates, and teachers during Upper School Chapel.
We do not ask people to hide their religious identities or let spiritual questions go unasked. Rather, we embrace the study of religion as a way to deepen an understanding of self and others, one that offers all students the opportunity to explore ultimate questions of God, faith, and meaningful ways of life.

A Cathedral School

Cathedral School for Boys is located on the campus of Grace Cathedral, a flagship Episcopal church designed to be "a house of prayer for all people." We are intentionally an Episcopal school with a pluralistic community. There is a common conviction on campus that we cannot experience joy or reach the truth apart from diversity—it’s not extra; it’s essential to our humanity. 

The Episcopal Church is a unique branch of Christianity and its schools provide an education that is inclusive of all people, all faiths, and all questions. To be an Episcopal school means not only expecting our boys to ask the great religious and moral questions of our time, but it also means sharing how the Episcopal tradition -- past and present -- provides unique answers to those great questions. The pluralistic approach of exploring uniquely Episcopal answers alongside the unique answers of neighboring spiritual traditions makes for a healthier, more openhearted, and global education. Our hope is that each boy graduates with a stronger understanding of, and appreciation for, the value of life-giving faith traditions and religious practices.

(Click here to learn about the defining qualities of the Episcopal tradition.)

Chapel Services

Monday: All-School Chapel
Once a month, the entire school gathers on Monday to sing, listen to special guests, and celebrate special events. Monthly Monday chapels introduce a monthly theme and include celebrations such as Day of the Dead, Lunar New Year, Black History, Women’s History, and AAPI and Hispanic Heritage Months. 
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. The last chapel of each month includes a special “Birthday Blessing” for the boys with a birthday that month.

Wednesday: Upper School Chapel
On Wednesday, the Upper School gathers for Upper School Chapel led by the Student Vestry, a team of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student leaders. This is when Chapel Talks are given by eighth graders and faculty members. The talks are often set to a theme. Once a month, instead of the regular Upper School Chapel, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist which is open to any boys who wish to receive 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. Each Friday features a Blessing of Good Samaritans – where we recognize those students and adults within the school who have gone out of their way to engage in acts of kindness, love, or justice. Hymn Sing is also the time the Chaplain offers special prayers based on timely events or on requests made by a member of the community.

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
Typically held the day before the Thanksgiving Break, this beloved service is an opportunity to invite close relatives and family friends to participate in an all-school service. This service features reflections of gratitude, written and delivered by the boys, for specific grandparents, classmates, and teachers within our community.

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! 

Cathedral School for Boys

Located in San Francisco, California, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in Kindergarten – Grade 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.