At Regnum Christi’s university in Rome, formation doesn’t stop over the summer. People from around the world come to take classes in bioethics, spirituality, women’s issues, seminary formation, teaching, and evangelization.
The mission statement of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum is “to form apostles, Christian leaders – clerics and laity, at the service of the Church to witness the mystery of Christ; to create, in full communion with the Magisterium of the Church, currents of thought that respond to the theoretical and existential questions of man and imbue society with an evangelical spirit.”
Along these lines, Fr. José Enrique Oyarzún, LC, rector of the Athenaeum, recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at the meeting with the young university professors in Madrid on the occasion of World Youth Day 2011 : “The University has been, and is always called to be, the house where the truth of the human person is sought.” Fr. José said, “ At the Regina Apostolorum, we deeply feel that this is our formative work.”
The Atheneum seeks to offer serious formation in a variety of fields while sharing the teachings of the Church and the evangelizing zeal of the Regnum Christi.
The bioethics faculty seeks to evangelize culture by transmitting experiences, educational criteria, and clear and proven knowledge to students. This summer they offered an “Introduction to Bioethics Summer Course” and a bioethics update summer course called, “Bioethics, Public Health and Infectious Threats to Global Health.” These courses are aimed at doctors, health care workers, biotechnologists, teachers, priests, religious, philosophers, jurists and people interested in the subject.
The introductory course, coordinated by Fr. Joseph Tham, LC, offered an overview of the problems facing bioethics in the light of the principles that guide practical decisions. It asked questions such as: Should we start therapies with serious side effects? What can a couple do morally to aid in conception? What is the destiny of frozen embryos? How can we educate young people in terms of respecting the body?
Fr. Francisco Ballesta, LC, and Alberto García, Regnum Christi Lay Consecrated Man, directed the second course. It presented an interdisciplinary study of infectious disease threats to public health in order to better understand the challenges, the laws and the applicable policies in this field.
The Institute for Women’s Studies also organized several activities over the summer. One of them was the first part of the “Diploma in Women and the Church,” which seeks to promote the contribution of women in the Church and the world by looking at theological, anthropological, historical, canonical and pastoral principles. This course included three modules. First, a sociocultural and historical module (women in different cultural contexts throughout history and, specifically, within the Church). Second, a theological and pastoral module (theological foundations that should guide thought and action; issues that concern women and require ad hoc pastoral formation). And finally, an anthropological, psychological and pedagogical module (philosophical reflection, scientific references and practical tools).
Institute for Religious Sciences
This summer the Athenaeum offer a course called “Witnesses of Joy: Growing in Emotional Maturity and Emotional Intelligence.” Starting from the exhortation of St. Paul (cf. Philippians 4:4) the course raised a question: how can we live in constant joy? From there, enlightened by faith and with the help of psychology, it took into consideration the role of affectivity and emotions at the interpersonal, spiritual, and community level to identify a path of maturity rooted in the joy of the Lord that lasts forever. This course was organized and promoted by the Institute of Religious Sciences, which trains pastoral agents; priests, religious and consecrated persons.
The institute also offered an intensive training course for directors of spiritual exercises. In this course, the structure and dynamics of the Ignatian spiritual exercises were explained, as well as the theological basis on which they are built, and how to apply them in the current socio-cultural reality without losing the effectiveness of their method.
The Sacerdos Institute
Sacerdos offers training offer aimed at the permanent formation of priests. Every summer it runs several key courses including a priestly renewal in the Holy Land and a seminary formators course. The latter, aimed at those who are already engaged in the formation of future priests, is an opportunity for study and spiritual deepening, as well as an occasion to share experiences among formators from various parts of the world who have the responsibility of accompanying the discernment, growth and maturation of seminarians. This summer there was also a course on accompaniment for priests.
Other Summer Courses at the Athenaeum
To help teachers at Regnum Christi schools and universities have a missionary spirit and the knowledge to share the faith, the Atheneum offered a course on formation in Christianity and culture for Regnum Christi universities, and a diploma course on university lecturing for the professors of the Athenaeum.
The Christianity and Culture course sought to train university professors and administrators of Regnum Christi universities to know and value the fundamental role of Christianity in the formation of western civilization. This can help them to enter into the dynamics and challenges of the evangelization of contemporary culture, and reflect on the role of the Catholic university in today’s culture according to the new evangelization. For this, the course studied various elements of the Catholic worldview from historical, philosophical and theological perspectives. It focused on the vision of the human person, and God become man. It included enrichment such as cultural visits to sites in Rome and various spiritual activities.
On the other hand, the diploma course in university lecturing included training activities aimed at the development of skills related to teaching in colleges. It is an adaptation of the pedagogical tools of a master’s degree from the Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid, adapted to the pedagogical needs of the Athenaeum’s professors. It covered competencies related to research and innovation in the classroom, regulation of educational interactions in the teaching-learning process, personalized attention to students with learning difficulties, and the design of continuous evaluation systems.
Being a “Church which goes forth,” as Pope Francis asks us to be in Evangelii Gaudium, implies an adequate integral formation that will allow us to always be willing to give the reason for our hope to those who ask for it (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). The Atheneum strives to be able to help the Church in this task.
This was originally reported on the Main Spanish-language Regnum Christi site: you can read the original there.