Students from colleges across the United States and Ireland are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime, as Christendom College’s three-week summer study-abroad program in Ireland, the St. Columcille Institute, gears up for its fourth summer. Held in Donegal, Ireland, the Institute is helping prepare the next generation of young Catholics to be the leaders the world so desperately needs, through classes, excursions, and friendships that will last a lifetime.
The Institute has received worldwide appeal since its inception, attracting students from nearly forty different colleges, both Catholic and secular, to the program. From Florida State University, to University College Dublin, to the California State University of Long Beach, students are flocking to Christendom’s St. Columcille Institute out of a desire to discover how to halt the secularization of Ireland, the U.S., and the whole world.
“Just by existing — by being in Ireland — the St. Columcille Institute is helping us. It’s going to keep attracting more and more Irish students, as it already is, which is a great thing for my homeland. We don’t have anything like Christendom here, and for Christendom to come over here for three weeks during the summer makes such a big difference to, and for, the Irish people,” said Katie Ascough, a native of Dublin who attended the 2015 Institute.
For Ascough, and numerous other students, the St. Columcille Institute is fulfilling a mission both noble and necessary — creating tomorrow’s leaders in the New Evangelization. This year’s program, held from July 22 through August 14, will look to accomplish that same goal, leading students on an intellectual and spiritual adventure through Ireland’s most beautiful locations.
Beginning shortly after their arrival at the stunning Ards Friary in County Donegal on July 23, students will begin their intellectual formation with classes taught by Christendom’s own faculty members. College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, the Dean of the Institute, will teach a class on the New Evangelization in Catholic Apologetics, helping prepare the next generation to answer the call of Popes St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis to participate in the New Evangelization.
The Institute will also include classes that introduce students to the exciting history of Ireland and the powerful literature of Irish authors, taught by Dr. Brendan McGuire and Prof. Sharon Hickson respectively. In addition, Dr. Sean-Patrick Lovett, the Program Director at Vatican Radio, will teach three workshops on the art of communication in the New Evangelization. Fr. Mark Byrne, SOLT, Christendom’s former associate chaplain on its Front Royal, Va. campus, will serve as chaplain to the Institute.
In addition to the classes, students will embark on excursions and hikes that immerse them in the traditional Catholic culture of Donegal, including exploring the Glenveigh National Park, Tory Island, the cliffs of Bunglasss, historic Glen Columcille, and Donegal Castle. The students will also journey to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo and visit the National Shrine of Our Lady’s apparition at Knock, before concluding their adventure in Dublin.
“This experience was simply life-changing, due to these people that I’ve met. I have made friends that I’ll have forever now, even if they live in different continents, and I’ve forged connections that I’ll cherish — these are people I feel I can turn to whenever I need them,” said Claire Byrne, another Irish student who attended the Institute last year.
Spots are filling up fast for the increasingly popular Institute. Those interested in participating in the life-changing, three-week program are encouraged to apply for the Institute at christendom.edu/Ireland.