Previous Summer Programs

"Divine Power in a Hidden Way:
Thomas' Commentary on the Sentences IV"

July 2nd - July 14th 2017 in Norcia, Italy

"these are the sacraments, in which, under the cover of visible things, divine power works our healing in a hidden way, as Augustine says."
~St. Thomas Aquinas, Prologue, Commentary on IV Sentences

Program Description
The theme for the 2017 Summer Program is Sacramental Theology. We will be undertaking a close reading of selected texts from the Commentary of Aquinas upon the Fourth Book of the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The Sentences was the standard "textbook" of the 13th and 14th century University of Paris, and all bachelors were required to write a commentary. Thus, in this work we find the thought of a relatively young Thomas Aquinas, having begun his writing of it at around 28 years of age.

This study is a particularly noteworthy one, as it will be the first time a study of Aquinas' Commentary on the Sentences will be undertaken with recourse to a full-translation of the Latin into English, thus making it accessible to all.

"He sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them from all their destructions (Ps 107:20). By the sin of the first man, the human race incurred two things, namely, death and infirmity. Death, because of its separation from the principle of life, of which it is said, with you is the font of life (Ps 36:9); whoever is separated from this principle necessarily dies, and this happened through the first man. Hence it is said, by one man sin entered the world, and by sin, death (Rom 5:12).

"But a sufficient remedy could be obtained for this only from the word of God, which is the font of wisdom on high (Sir 1:5) and, accordingly, the source of life: for wisdom endows its possessor with life (cf. Sir 7). Thus it is said, as the Father raises up the dead and gives life, so the Son also gives life to whom he will (Jn 5:20). The word is the power of God, by which all things are upheld: upholding all things by the word of his power (Heb 1:3). And this is why it is efficacious for removing infirmity.

"Therefore in this way three things are touched upon in the words above: namely, the preparation of this medicine, healing from infirmity, and liberation from death. The preparation of the medicine is touched upon when it says, he sent his word. This should be understood as referring to the incarnation of the Word, who is said to be sent by God because he became flesh: God sent his Son, born of a woman (Gal 4:4).

"It should also be understood as referring to the institution of the sacraments, in which the word is combined with the element and the sacrament is made; so that in this way a sacrament is similar to the Incarnate Word. For sensible creation is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim 4:5)."

Sancti Thomae de Aquino,
Scriptum super IV Sententiis

"The Transcendent Christ:
St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews"

July 10th - July 24th 2016 in Norcia, Italy

"There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours."
~ Psalm 86:8

Program Description
The theme for the 2016 Summer Program is St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. We will be undertaking a thorough reading of the Letter, following St. Thomas's commentary upon the epistle as our guide. The Epistle offers the opportunity to explore in depth the subject of grace as it is found in its source, namely, Christ, the head of the Mystical Body.

"The matchless work of Christ is threefold: one extends to every creature, namely, the work of creation: ‘All things were made through Him’ (Jn. 1:3); a second extends to the rational creature, who is enlightened by Christ, namely, the work of enlightenment: ‘He was the true light which enlightens every man that comes into the world’ (Jn. 1:9); the third extends to justification, which pertains only to the saints, who are vivified and sanctified by Him, i.e., by life-giving grace: ‘And the life was the light of men’ (Jn. 1:4)... The transcendence of Christ is thus clearly shown in our text; and this is the subject matter of this epistle to the Hebrews."

~ St. Thomas Aquinas, 
Super Epistolam B. Pauli ad Hebraeos Lectura

"Light unto the Mysteries of God:
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians"

July 12 - July 25 2015 in Norcia, Italy

To me, though I am the very least of the saints, this grace was given, to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God"
~ Ephesians 3:8
Program Description
The theme for the 2015 Summer Program is St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. We will be undertaking a thorough reading of the Letter, following St. Thomas's commentary upon the epistle as our guide. The Epistle offers the opportunity to explore in depth the subject of grace as it is found principally in the sacraments.
In particular, St. Paul's letter focusses on the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, and the Eucharist, and so participants will gain a greater understanding not only of these sacraments, but also an understanding of how grace works through the sacraments so as to order man to his end.

"'I will not hide from you the secrets [Gk: μυστήρια; La: sacramenta] of God, but will trace out her course from the beginning of creation and make the knowledge of her clear and will not pass by the truth.' (Wis 6:24)... Thus, the [preceding] text discloses to us the subject matter of this epistle, in which the Apostle discusses the sacraments of the Church."
~ St. Thomas Aquinas, 
Super Epistolam Primam B. Pauli ad Corinthios Lectura

"By Faith in Jesus Christ:
Paul's Letter to the Romans"
June 16 - June 29 2014 in Norcia, Italy

"This man is to me a chosen vessel to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel." 
                                                                       ~ Acts 9:15

Program Description

The theme for the 2014 Summer Program is St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. We will be undertaking a thorough reading of the Letter, which in many ways is already an early synthesis of the Faith that the Evangelists witness to. The Epistle offers the opportunity to explore in depth many theological questions, such as justification, faith, works, the relation between the Old Covenant and the New, the election of the Gentiles, as well as the salvation of the Jews.

Of all of the Pauline letters, it is most fitting to begin with the Epistle to the Romans, as St. Thomas says, "both because of the dignity of the Romans, who ruled other nations, since in this letter pride is rebuked, which is the source of all sin (Sir 10:14); and because the order of teaching requires that grace should first be considered in itself before being considered as it is found in the Sacraments."

"For this entire teaching is about Christ's grace… as it is found in the Mystical Body itself, that is, the Church."
~ St. Thomas Aquinas, 
Super Epistolam B. Pauli ad Romanos Lectura

"Encountering Christ in the Gospels"
June 18 - June 30, 2012
in Norcia, Italy

"Keep the Holy Bible within reach during the summer period . . . read some of its books straight through . . . such as the Gospels, but without putting them down." 
~ Pope Benedict XVI

Program Description

The theme for the 2012 Summer Program is Biblical Theology, the study of the Sacred Page. In preparation for the upcoming ‘Year of Faith’ announced by the Holy Father, we will be taking to heart his suggestion for how to spend part of the summer holidays:

Dear friends, today I would like to suggest that you keep the Holy Bible within reach, during the summer period or in your breaks, in order to enjoy it in a new way by reading some of its books straight through, those that are less known and also the most famous, such as the Gospels, but without putting them down.

By so doing moments of relaxation can become in addition to a cultural enrichment also an enrichment of the spirit which is capable of fostering the knowledge of God and dialogue with him, prayer. And this seems to be a splendid holiday occupation: to take a book of the Bible in order to have a little relaxation and at the same time to enter the great realm of the word of God and to deepen our contact with the Eternal One, as the very purpose of the free time that the Lord gives us.                               
~ Pope Benedict XVI, 
General Audience, 
August 3, 2011

Christ: Source and Summit of all things

The St. Albert the Great Center's 
2011 Summer Program
June 20th to July 1st, 2011, in Norcia, Italy

“The Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life.' 'The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (CCC. 1324)

Program Description

The theme for the 2011 Summer program is sacramental theology. The focus is on the Eucharist, as the center towards which all the other sacraments are ordered. However, Baptism, Matrimony, and Holy Orders will all be studied together with, and as ordered to, the Eucharist. The goal of the program is to cover briefly but thoroughly the essence and role of these four sacraments in the life of the Church. To this end, we will read and discuss a variety of great works and authors on the sacraments: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, Ven. John Paul II, and more.