Christendom’s Graduate School began its summer session last week, with students immersing themselves in their classes on the Front Royal campus, working toward their graduate degrees in theological studies. One of the more popular features of the summer, the Vita Consecrata Institute (VCI) for religious, priests, and other consecrated persons, is also experiencing an exciting expansion this summer, with new courses now being offered on psychology and philosophy.

According to Dr. R.J. Matava, dean of the graduate school, the idea for these two new courses originated with Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., head of the Institute on Religious Life, which co-sponsors the VCI.

The addition of a psychology course was seen as particularly enticing, leading to the creation of a class on Psychology in Support of Religious Life.

“I was very supportive of the idea because the integration of psychology with a Catholic perspective in ethics, anthropology and spirituality is an area of great need,” says Matava. “We had about twice the level of interest we expected for his course. The VCI presented another great opportunity to ‘create space’ for this kind of discussion, especially within a significant target audience.”

The course is being taught by Dr. Mark Glafke, a new addition to the graduate school faculty. Glafke, an alum of Purdue University, is a licensed psychologist, who also completes a psychological assessment of candidates for the priesthood and religious life in his local diocese.

The other new course, an Introduction to Themes in Aquinas, was born out of a similar desire to bring a new offering to the VCI that would deepen its curriculum.

“Many of the VCI students are not part of our regular graduate program, where they would be exposed to philosophy,” explains Matava. “This provides them with an opportunity to deepen their formation in this vital area of study.”

Both courses further serve as another motivation for students to keep coming back to the VCI after they have finished the standard rotation of courses. By expanding and diversifying the existing curriculum, Matava and the rest of the graduate school faculty are giving interested students further means to deepen their formation and come closer to Christ as a result.

To learn more about these offerings and others, please visit graduate.christendom.edu.

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