Augustine Institute launches short courses for busy people

Karna Lozoya

The Augustine Institute wants 2018 to be the year you take your knowledge of the richness of the Catholic faith to the next level, and they aren’t going to let the excuse that you’re “too busy” get in the way.

This month the theology school is launching the Augustine Institute Forum, which will provide opportunities for lay people and clergy who are short on time to take one or more of a series of three-class seminars from leading theologians.

“The Augustine Institute Forum offers inspiring formation in wisdom and charity by engaging with classical texts, topics of perennial interest, and subjects of present concern,” states the course description.

This month students will have an opportunity to take a deep dive into Church teaching on the Eucharist with Ben Akers. During Lent, Mark Giszczak will lead students through the Prophets and how their message was fulfilled in the person of Christ.

Other topics include an in-depth exploration of early Church mothers (Easter), the Holy Spirit and St. Augustine.

According to the institute’s Academic Dean, Christopher Blum, the Forum seeks to benefit faculty as well: “As faculty, we have to fight the same problem of distraction that confronts us all, and so we are launching the Forum classes to give us and our friends in Denver occasions to call our minds back to the contemplation of the subjects that are most worth thinking about.”

“I can’t wait to teach one myself next Fall,” he added, “perhaps on Boethius’ ‘Consolation of Philosophy.’”

Gatherings of the Forum take various forms, including lectures, seminars, workshops, and short courses taught by the faculty of the Augustine Institute’s Graduate School of Theology and honored guests.

The courses also provide opportunities for common prayer, conversation with faculty and fellow participants, and refreshment.

Forum conversations are limited in size; a modest fee guarantees one’s spot. Scholarships are available for priests, seminarians, and lay men and women serving in parishes, schools, and charitable works, as well as for those with demonstrable financial need.

Unless otherwise noted, the fee for each series is $60, or $100 for couples.

To register or to inquire about scholarships or group rates, call Kathryn Murray at 303.937.4420.

More info online:

Spring 2018 Offerings

The Sacrament of Charity
Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 9
Benjamin Akers, S.T.D.
Fridays at 7 p.m. (Evening Prayer at 6:30; refreshments after the lectures)

The Most Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” This series will explore this great mystery of our faith. We will examine texts from Sacred Scripture, the saints and the Magisterium, in particular, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, with the hope of developing a renewed “Eucharistic wonder.”

Hearing Christ in the Prophets
Feb. 23, March 2, March 9
Mark Giszczak, S.S.L., Ph.D.
Fridays in Lent at 1 p.m. (11:30 a.m. Stations of the Cross; 12 p.m. Mass)
Lenten soup, cheese, and bread at 12:30 p.m.

The prophets of the Old Testament invite us to repent, warn us of God’s judgment and call us to look forward to the ultimate restoration of all things. This lecture series will explore their message, illuminate its fulfillment in the life of Christ and demonstrate how he speaks through them to us.

Mothers of the Church: Female Saints of Early Christianity
April 6, April 13, April 20
Elizabeth Klein, Ph.D.
Fridays in Eastertide at 10 a.m.

This course will examine three stories of early Christian saints, all women who helped to build God’s Church in its infancy: Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (both mothers, who were martyred in North Africa c. 203), St. Macrina (a consecrated single woman and theologian), and St. Marcella (a founder of Roman monasticism). By studying these lives, we will glimpse ancient Christian piety, and consider how these holy women can be witnesses and examples to us today.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
May 2, May 9, May 16
Scott Hefelfinger, S.T.L.
Wednesdays leading up to Pentecost at 7:45 a.m. (7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer)

We all want to be inspired, to be moved and elevated by something beyond ourselves. God responds to this desire of our hearts by breathing the Holy Spirit into us so that He might live in us and through us. But what does this mean and how does it work? And how does this bolster rather than belittle our personalities and our freedom? By exploring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, received at Baptism and strengthened in Confirmation, we will come to understand how God inspires and transforms us through these gifts, making us apt and ready instruments for God’s work in our hearts and in the world.

How to Talk About Yourself: St Augustine’s Confessions
June 1, June 8, June 15
John Sehorn, Ph.D.
Fridays at 7:00 p.m. (Evening prayer at 6:30 p.m.; refreshments after the lectures)

Most of us are concerned to present ourselves publicly in a favorable light. Imagine the shock of a famous bishop and theologian publishing a bombshell memoir recounting his past and present sins! But St Augustine (354-430) tells us that his purpose in writing the Confessions was not to cause a sensation, but to lift minds and hearts to the praise of God. This series provides an introduction to St Augustine’s most celebrated work and considers what we can learn from it about seeing ourselves in the light of God’s truth and mercy.

COMING UP: Accreditation affirms school’s excellence

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This Spring the Augustine Institute passed a major milestone when the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools granted full accreditation to the Institute’s Graduate School.

“This is a major milestone for us, especially coming in our tenth year of work,” said Tim Gray, president of the Augustine Institute. “I’m deeply grateful to our trustees, faculty, staff, students and all who have given so sacrificially over the past decade.”

Gray also commended the Association of Theological Schools for “guiding us through the process of accreditation and helping us to improve the quality of our graduate education and professional standards.”

A graduate school for laity, the Augustine Institute currently has 300 students on-campus and through its distance-education program, with over 200 graduates. Christopher Blum, academic dean, applauded the accreditation, stating that it now “affirms the academic integrity and excellent student services the school has provided over the years.”

Gray added, “As I look ahead to the next ten years, I am thrilled by the prospect of leading the Augustine Institute’s graduate school of theology to more distinguished achievements.”

He added that the next step will be to “build out a generous scholarship program that will support our students, on our campuses in Denver and Orange County, and through distance education.”

“With the help of our generous benefactors,” Gray said, “our students will be able to put their theological and practical training to immediate use for the sake of souls and for the greater glory of God.”