Noel Cooper was Coordinator of Religious Education for the York Catholic District School Board (serving more than 50000 students, near Toronto, Canada) from 1972 until his retirement in 1998. In that role, he developed curriculum for Religious Education and Family Life Education, assisted teachers in classrooms, and offered courses and conferences for teachers.

He taught Religious Education courses for teachers from 1970 to 2008, not only in York Region, but also at several other locations in Canada.

He was a member of the writing team for the student text and teachers’ manual of the catechetical program for Grades 7 and 8 published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (1987-88), and also contributed to the “Roots” program for high school Religious Education, published by CCCB in 1993.

Since becoming a pensioner, besides continuing to teach Religious Education courses for teachers, Noel worked with a colleague offering parenting courses to fathers of young children. More than 400 fathers have taken these programs; the only required qualification is that the dads have a child under the age of six.

In 2003, he published Language of the Heart (Novalis), an introductory book about Scripture, based on the courses he has taught for more than 30 years. In 2009, his second book was published by Liturgical Press, entitled What Makes Us Whole: Finding God in Contemporary Life. In 2011, his book The Sexual Believer was published using the self-publishing resources of In 2014, Gospel Overtures: The Message of the Christmas Stories in Matthew and Luke was published by Wipf and Stock.

Besides a BA in Philosophy and English and an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) from St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto (1961, 1964), Noel Cooper holds licentiate degrees in Sacred Theology (Angelicum University, Rome, 1966) and Sacred Scripture (Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, 1968).

He and his late wife Patricia are parents of Andrew (1974), Paul (1977) and John (1979). In 2005, he married Patricia Beecham. They reside some 70 miles north of Toronto.

For a longer anecdotal biography, please go back one page.


Licentiate in Sacred Scripture, Pontifical Institute of Biblical Studies, Rome, 1968
Licentiate in Sacred Theology, Angelicum University, Rome, 1966
Bachelor of Sacred Theology, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, 1964
Bachelor of Arts, Honours Philosophy and English, St. Michael's College, 1961

[A “licentiate” is a “licence” to teach in a Vatican-accredited university.]


Ontario Teaching Certificate, valid for Primary, Junior, and Intermediate divisions, 1972.
Specialist Certificate in Religious Education, Ministry of Education, Ontario, 1987.


a) University-Related Experience
• 1970-2010: Instructor and Course Director of Ministry- and university-accredited Religious Education courses for teachers (Pre-service and Additional Qualifications) at many locations in Ontario.
• 1968-70: Professor of Sacred Scripture, St. Augustine's Seminary, Scarborough (affiliation with St. Paul's University, Ottawa).

b) Leadership Experience
• Career Position 1972-98: Co-ordinator of Religious Education, York Region Roman Catholic Separate School Board (now York Catholic District School Board)
• 1978-80: President, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, York Unit
• 1968-69: Rector, St. Augustine's Seminary, Scarborough.

c) Classroom teaching experience
• 1972-79: Part-time classroom teacher, Grades 7 and 8, YRRCSSB.
• 1998-2000: (post retirement) Secondary Religious Education teacher and Chaplaincy Team member, YCDSB

d) Resource experience:
• Presenter at numerous seminars and conferences for teacher professional development in field of specialization.
• 2004-2009: instructor for an ecumenical (multi-denominational) Scripture study group, based in a Catholic parish. This group stages two ten-lecture series annually, and has been in existence for 22 years.


Gospel Overtures: The Message of the Christmas Stories in Matthew and Luke (Eugene OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014)

The Sexual Believer: Uncommon Reflections about Sexual Morality for Catholics in the Third Millennium
(self published; printed by, 2011)

What Makes Us Whole: Finding God in Contemporary Life (Collegeville MN: The Liturgical Press, 2009)

Language of the Heart: How To Read the Bible; A User’s Guide for Catholics (Ottawa ON: Novalis, 2003)
Winner of second-place award in the Scripture category by the Catholic Press Association (USA), 2004.

Online introductory course in Scripture, sponsored by Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, also available to non-members of OECTA at the web site of (

"In Search of the Elusive Needle’s Eye," "Parenting for Maturity," “Why Did This Happen to Me?" Three articles in Catholic New Times, September-March, 2000-2001

"A God Who Saves: the Foundations of Jewish Faith", in Logos, a publication of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, Vol. 1, No.1, 1993.

"What Do You Do When You Can't Go Home?" a discussion of The Gospel According to Mark in Roots 2: Finding Strength in-Biblical Tradition (Ottawa: CCCB), 1993

"Gospel Perspectives on Moral Education", (the transcript of a presentation at the National Conference on Religious Education) in Catholic Education: Transforming our World
(Ottawa: Novalis, 1992)

Member of Writing Team for We Believe: God Revealed in Jesus and We Believe: God Revealed in the Church: Student text and Teacher Manual of the "Born of the Spirit" program for Grades 7 and 8: published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1987-88.


Principal Author, Editor, or Writing Team Member:

Students at Risk: Depression and Suicide Prevention, 1994

Education about Intimacy, Education about A.I.D.S. 1994

Preparing Students to Celebrate the Sacraments: A Handbook for Teachers1992

Teach Us to Pray, 1991

The Church and the Sacraments [Resource document for Grade 10 Religious Education], 1991

God Revealed in the Scriptures [Resource document for Grade 9 Religious Education], 1990

Human Reproduction, 1990

Student Pregnancy: Issues and Directions for Catholic Educators, 1990


2004: Winner of second-place award in the Scripture category by the Catholic Press Association (USA), for Language of the Heart: How To Read the Bible; A User’s Guide for Catholics (Novalis, 2003)

2004: Honorary lifetime membership, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association

1985 C.R.E.C.O. Award: [The Catholic Religious Education Consultants of Ontario] "For outstanding contribution and commitment to Catholic Education"