The St. Columcille Institute, Christendom College’s annual summer program in Ireland, is off to a great start. The three-week program, which started on July 19, is being held at Ards Friary in County Donegal, a spectacular part of the northwest of Ireland where local traditions and Irish culture remain strong and vibrant. Aiming to strengthen the faith and deepen the understanding of young Catholic leaders in Europe and America, the Institute is already receiving praise from participants.
“The program is so good,” says Mark Turner, a junior at Christendom, currently attending the Institute. “The classes are great and the excursions are fun and Ireland is so naturally beautiful—especially Donegal. Just hiking and walking the 200 acres surrounding the Friary is amazing.”
Turner says the group was pleasantly surprised to attend a Mass celebrated by the Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, and also enjoyed an opening Mass with Bishop Phillip Boyce of the Diocese of Raphoe.
“The spiritual aspects of the trip are really helping us keep a spirit of charity in all things that we do,” Turner says.
He also says that highlights from the program so far include trips to Glenveigh Castle and the town of Kilkenny.
Through the Institute’s college-level courses, students are being given a better understanding of Catholicism, ensuring that they will develop the ability both to evangelize and defend the Faith within secular society. Taught by Christendom faculty, students are examining the patrimony of Western Christian Civilization through an in-depth study of theology, history, and literature.
College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell is teaching the theology course, which presents the basic arguments for the credibility of the Catholic Faith and Natural Law. English professor Sharon Hickson is teaching the literature course, which surveys fiction, drama, and poetry drawn from the masterworks of the Western literary tradition with a special emphasis on Irish writers. History professor Brendan McGuire is teaching the history course, which is covering the rise and development of Christian Europe, highlighting the special contribution made by Catholic Ireland. Native Irishman and college chaplain Fr. Mark Byrne, SOLT, is assisting in the spiritual formation that is part of the daily routine for students who participate in the Institute.
For more information, visit christendom.edu/ireland.