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.
This year we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the canonization of the “Five Saints” —Saints Philip Neri, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Isidore the Farmer. It was an important celebration of the spiritual fruitfulness of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The anniversary gives us the opportunity to reflect on the idea of sanctity and the powerful example that the saints give us, the Church’s beginning to recognize various Christians as saints in the liturgy, and the canonical process of canonization the Church developed. Saint Philip was convinced that Catholics should give more attention to lives of the saints—reading books that begin with the letter “S”, like Saint Augustine, Saint Benedict, etc. And so our Second Session for 2022 will be entitled Books (and People) that Begin with S.
The first week will be July 4-8, and the second July 11-15. 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 course will be available this year again both in person and 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 $150. For those attending in person, the cost for each session will be $175 per person, which includes lunch for the five days. For those who would like to avoid travelling each day, simple accommodation is available 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. The cost for a room is $75 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.)
Previous topics for the Second Session