Summer Program 2016

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

July 10th - July 24th 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

In accordance with the particular mission of the Saint Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies, which seeks to promote the study of theology according to the mind and method of the great scholastics, the core of every Summer Program lies in the attentive reading and thoughtful discussion of the great texts of the Catholic theological tradition. After Scripture itself, pride of place belongs to the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and especially to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Our verbal commentary on these texts, carried out in a formal seminar setting, is intended to approximate the scholastic practice of written commentary undertaken by the theological ‘baccalaureates’ of the day (e.g. St. Thomas’s commentary on the Sentences of ‘the Master’ Peter Lombard). Participants in the program will be expected to read the assigned selections before each seminar in order to come prepared to participate actively in group discussion of the texts. Although every participant is expected to contribute his or her insights to aid the entire group in coming to a deeper understanding, these seminars will be guided by our program directors, who have advanced degrees in theology, competency in the subject matter, and experience in the seminar method of pedagogy, or by other guest professors with appropriate academic degrees and experience.

Fr. Cassian, O.S.B.
The second part of the program consists of a series of lectures delivered by our ‘masters’ of theology, who are again this year members of the monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia. The keynote will be given by Fr. Cassian Folsom, the prior of the monastery. Topically, the lectures will complement the subject-matter of the seminars.

Scholastic Disputation
The program reaches its culmination with our authentic scholastic disputation: the questions to be disputed will be announced at least one day in advance, and the participants divided into teams, which will be assigned to argue either for or against each question. Each participant will be expected to form his or her own thoughts on the questions, and attempt to answer them. At the disputation itself, members of each team will offer arguments in scholastic style as an objection or a ‘sed contra’ (“it seems that…” or “it seems not…”). After each team has argued its case, the 'Magister' (again, one of the monks) will give his solution, and then reply to each of the arguments posited by the participants.

Basilica San Benedetto di Norcia
Throughout the two weeks of the program there will also be ample opportunities for spiritual activities. Holy Mass is available in Norcia several times per day. Our schedule is constructed in such a way as to encourage participation in the daily Conventual Mass of the Benedictine monks, which is offered in Latin (Usus Antiquior) in the Basilica of St. Benedict. Participants are also invited to join the monks in praying the divine office: Lauds, Vespers, Compline, or even Matins at 4:00 A.M.! The priests of the monastery will of course be available for spiritual counseling, guidance, and/or confessions.

Basilica San Pietro, Roma
Finally, the enrichment of mind and spirit fostered by attentive reading of the Scriptures and participation in the prayers and liturgical celebrations of the monastery will be complemented by moments of relaxation and cultural activities. The picturesque medieval town of Norcia is located right at the edge of the beautiful Mount Sibilini National Park. Optional excursions will be organized to nearby towns (places to be announced) - in the past, we have traveled to Assisi and Cascia. In addition, we will plan a longer weekend trip to Rome at the end of the program in order to have a relaxing but formative experience in the Eternal City, the glorious foundation seat of the Church – optional, but highly recommended! See the Excursions Itinerary for more details.

Calendar and Schedule

May 16. Deadline for applications for 2016 Summer Program. 300 Euro deposit due upon acceptance.

June 01. Deadline for remainder of payment for 2016 Summer Program.

July 10. Sun. Arrival Day.
July 11. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
July 12. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
July 13. Wed. Normal Program Schedule.
July 14. Thur. Normal Program Schedule.
July 15. Fri. Normal Program Schedule.
July 16. Sat. Optional Excursion to Assisi.
July 17. Sun. Optional Excursion to Cascia.

July 18. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
July 19. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
July 20. Wed. Modified Program Schedule.
July 21. Thur. Modified Program Schedule.
July 22. Fri. Optional Excursion to Rome.
July 23. Sat. Optional Excursion to Rome.
July 24. Sun. Departure from Rome.

Normal Program Schedule

06:00-06:45. Lauds.
07:00-08:15. Breakfast.
08:30-09:45. Seminar 1.
10:00-11:00. Holy Mass.
11:30-12:30. Lecture.
12:45-14:15. Lunch.
14:30-15:45. Seminar 2.
16:00-17:15. Open for reading, etc.
17:30-18:15. Vespers.
18:30-19:30. Dinner.
19:45-20:00. Compline.

Eligibility: The 2016 Summer Program is open to all applicants 18 years and older. The application process includes the completion of an application form and the submission of a letter of recommendation.

Cost: 900 Euro. As of November 15, 2015, this was roughly $970 (exchange rate 1.076). Click here for updated exchange rates. This covers tuition, room, and half-board in Norcia. Half-board includes a light breakfast and a multi-course Italian style dinner, leaving the midday meal to be arranged individually by the participants. It does not cover the cost of our trip to Rome. Participants should also plan some extra money for excursions (especially to Rome), souvenirs, etc. Payment can be made by check, credit card, or paypal account through our donations page. If paying with U.S. Dollars, simply calculate the amount necessary based on the exchange rate at the time of payment. Contact us with any questions.

Course Book: We are very blessed to be in partnership with the Aquinas Institute, who is giving us a substantial discount on the beautifully bound volume of St. Thomas' Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Retailed at $40). This will be included as a part of the program fees!

Location: The 2016 Summer Program will be held in Norcia, Italy. Norcia is a small town in the province of Perugia in southeastern Umbria. For directions on reaching Norcia, see Getting to Norcia.

Course Credits: The Saint Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies is not a degree granting institution, but we will assign grades and provide official transcripts verifying completion of a four credit-hour course for those who are interested.

To Apply: Apply now online or download and complete the application form, and mail your letters of recommendation and intention to the following address:
In America:

St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies
Attn: John Joy
La Lumiere School
6801 N. Wilhelm Road
La Porte, IN 46350
In Europe:

St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies
Attn: Chris Owens
Via delle Colonie, 11
00058 Santa Marinella
You may also scan the completed application and email it to
Once you are accepted, you will be asked for a 300 Euro deposit to confirm your space on the program.