Summer School

Since 1984, the Oratory, through Saint Philip’s Seminary which it founded and runs, has been providing philosophical and theological education for students preparing for the Catholic priesthood.  Although the seminary helped fill an educational gap for seminarians, laypeople were requesting both high quality catechetical instruction and a continuing intellectual formation in their Catholic faith.  In 1989, the Oratory Theology Summer School was instituted to help satisfy that desire.

Each year, the first week of the Summer School is a systematic introduction to The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The five-day course has three lectures per day that provide a solid foundation for navigating the Catechism on one’s own, either for personal reading or for use in home schooling, RCIA courses, or Catholic schools.  Although the course has been of great use to teachers and catechists, everyday Catholics find it accessible and intellectually nourishing.  Even high school students have taken the course with their families. A short preview is available below:

The second week of the Summer School changes from year to year, allowing students to come back for new material each year.  It is recommended that students take the first session before taking the second but not required.

The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI inspired our second week of the summer school this year. We will dedicate that week to delving into Benedict’s life, his many writings (both before and after his election), his complex papacy and the issues he had to face, as well as his personal interests. His life formed one of the last direct living links we had to the Second Vatican Council and to its authentic interpretation. He brought an intellectual and cultured presence to the papal throne, and despite his age, was able to accomplish many things.

The first week will be July 3-7, and the second July 10-14.  Lectures will be at 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 1:15 p.m. EST, with Mass at 10:00 a.m. Lunch is provided for those attending in person.

The cost for each session, which includes lunch for the five days for those attending in person, will be $200 per person. For those who would like to avoid traveling each day, simple accommodation is available on a limited basis in the Oratory’s new Seminary Residence. The rooms are single, with shared bathrooms, and have access to simple cooking facilities and the Seminary Chapel (and the building is now air-conditioned—thank you, Renovatio!). The cost for a room is $100 per person, per week, and participants are responsible for bringing their own bedding for a single bed. (Still one of the great bargains of the Western World.) The course will also be available online. Those enrolled in the course can attend live through Zoom, and recordings will be made available for one week after the completion of the course to allow those whose schedules won’t allow them to attend live to watch the classes. For those attending only online, the cost for each session will be $175.

Registrations can be made using our mail-in form or online through Eventbrite. If you are paying by cheque, please make the cheque out to “The Oratory of St Philip Neri — Toronto”.

Previous topics for the Second Session

  • 1991: Prayer and Spirituality
  • 1992: Lumen Gentium
  • 1993: Scripture and its Interpretation
  • 1994: Introduction to the Catechism (same as first week)
  • 1995: The Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders
  • 1996: The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Response
  • 1997: The Church in the Nineteenth Century
  • 1998: The First Four Ecumenical Councils
  • 1999: The 13th Century
  • 2000: Catholic Controversies
  • 2001: John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • 2002: No summer school because of World Youth Day
  • 2003: The Doctors of the Church
  • 2004: The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
  • 2005: The Papacy
  • 2006: The Church in the first half of the Twentieth Century
  • 2007: The Eucharist — Sacramentum Caritatis
  • 2008: Saint Paul the Apostle
  • 2009: Popes, Saints, and Councils of the Early Renaissance
  • 2010: John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • 2011: The Church in the Catacombs
  • 2012: From Enlightenment to Revolution — The Church in the 18th Century
  • 2013:  Essential Catholic Reading
  • 2014: The Life of Prayer
  • 2015: St Philip — The Early Years
  • 2016: St Augustine and His Influence
  • 2017: The Church and Non-Believers
  • 2018: The Church in the Apostolic Age
  • 2019: John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • 2020: The First Four Ecumenical Councils
  • 2021: The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Response
  • 2022: Books (and People) that Begin with S