“Come Away by Yourselves and Rest a While” (Mark 6:31)
Priestly Renewal in Rome
“I ask the Lord Jesus to confirm the priestly joy of those who have already ministered for some years. The joy which, without leaving their eyes, is also found on the shoulders of those who bear the burden of the ministry, those priests who, having experienced the labors of the apostolate, gather their strength and rearm themselves: ‘get a second wind,’ as the athletes say. Lord, preserve the depth, wisdom and maturity of the joy felt by these older priests. May they be able to pray with Nehemiah: ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’ (cf. Neh 8:10).”
(Pope Francis, Chrism Mass Homily, April 17, 2014)
We invite you to come to Rome and walk in the footsteps of some 3,000 priests from all over the English-speaking world who have attended the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College since its beginning in 1971. The Institute is an extraordinary opportunity for priests to study, pray and become zealous disciples of the Lord in a newer and deeper way.
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II. Background History
The following programs will be offered in 2018–2019 (click here for “Dates”):
1. Fall 2018: three modules (Module 1 – four weeks; Module 2 – three weeks; Module 3 – four weeks). Participants may choose to attend any combination or all of the modules above.
2. Spring 2019 semester: a single twelve-week sabbatical.
For the single sabbatical (Spring 2018, Spring 2019), subject areas covered include the following:
- Bioethical Questions
- Canon Law
- Contemplative Prayer and the Saints
- Fundamental and Moral Theology
- Lectio Divina
- Letters of Saint Paul
- Literature and the Role of Imagination
- Retreat week in Assisi
- Spirituality of the Priesthood
- Thought of Pope Francis
- Tour of the Vatican Museum
- Tours of the Roman Basilicas
- Visits to various Vatican Dicasteries
- Women Doctors/Mystics of the Church
Download the Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 brochure here.
FALL 2018 MODULES
MODULE 1: The First Missionary Journey: Saint Paul and Cyprus— September 3 through September 28, 2018
- Pilgrimage to Cyprus in the Footsteps of Saint Paul accompanied by Father Scott Brodeur, SJ. (Gregorian University)
- General Audience with Pope Francis
- Five-day retreat in Rome
- Masses at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul
MODULE 2: The First Call of the Gospel: Catholic Relief Services and their Work in Jordan — October 1 through October 19, 2018
- Pilgrimage to Jordan visiting the sites of Catholic Relief Services
- Lectures on the thought of Pope Francis
- Mass at the tomb of Saint Peter
- Lectures with Catholic Relief Services
N.B. Location subject to change if US travel restrictions warrant it
MODULE 3: The First Art of the Church: The Mosaics of Rome and Sicily — October 22 through November 16, 2018
- Mass at the tomb of Saint Peter
- Tours of the great mosaics of Rome and Sicily (Palermo, Agrigento, Syracuse, Catania, and Taormina)
- Tour of the Vatican Museum
- Five-Day retreat in Rome
- Visit to the Vatican’s own Mosaic Studio
II. Background History
“‘The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus’, the saintly Curé of Ars would often say. This touching expression makes us reflect, first of all, with heartfelt gratitude on the immense gift, which priests represent, not only for the Church, but also for humanity itself. I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life. How can I not pay tribute to their apostolic labors, their tireless and hidden service, their universal charity? And how can I not praise the courageous fidelity of so many priests who, even amid difficulties and incomprehension, remain faithful to their vocation as ‘friends of Christ’, whom he has called by name, chosen and sent?”
(Pope Benedict XVI, June 16, 2009, in his Letter announcing the Year for Priests)
The Institute was founded in response to the call of the Second Vatican Council for the renewal of priests. Fourteen of the sixteen Conciliar documents can be quoted as indicating that continuing education and renewal are important for priests and their ministry. In addition, our program follows suggestions for the ongoing education and renewal of priests found especially in Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I Will Give You Shepherds”) and in “The Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests,” issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. The Bishops of the United States of America have contributed to this development through their own “Program of Priestly Formation” and the “Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.” Over the years, the success of our program has come from responding to the current needs of priests as they engage in ever changing opportunities and challenges; in this way, it has helped them in the renewal of their vocation and priesthood, revitalizing and equipping them for more effective pastoral ministry.
“Permanent formation is a requirement of the priest’s own faithfulness to his ministry, to his very being. It is love for Jesus Christ and fidelity to oneself. But it is also an act of love for the People of God, at whose service the priest is placed.”
(Saint John Paul II, Post Synodal Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, n. 70)
Ongoing Human Formation: The unique possibility for priests to spend time together in a strictly priestly environment fosters fraternity and the opportunity to explore personal and pastoral features of the priesthood in light of the renewal experience. Moreover, engaging in the cultural and artistic heritage of the Church and Rome, as well as through other moments for travel in Italy and beyond, contributes to a lifetime of appreciation for Europe’s rich Christian and cultural traditions.
Ongoing Spiritual Formation: All our programs provide opportunities for priests to make their annual retreat. There are moments offered for coming together in prayer in the daily celebration of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours, as well as participating in the Holy Hour, Rosary, and Sacrament of Reconciliation. Spiritual Direction is available to each individual. Participants enjoy also the privilege of concelebrating liturgies at the Basilica of Saint Peter, other Papal Basilicas and various ancient churches. For many priests, the possibility of attending Papal liturgies and other spiritual events at the Vatican and in Rome is among the highlights of our program. In the Spring semester, a nine-day semester break permits personal travel or the option of a study pilgrimage to the Holy Land or other fascinating places connected to Sacred Scripture. In the Spring semester, participants benefit from the option of praying at the Station Churches during Lent and remaining in Rome during Holy Week.
Ongoing Intellectual Formation: Presenters for the Institute are top-notch Roman-based university professors, as well as from the USA and Europe, whose expertise has brought them to the “universal classroom” of Rome. The professors typically enjoy working with Institute priests because of the give-and-take with experienced pastors and those active in the various ministries of the Church.
Ongoing Pastoral Formation: The priests of the Institute are diocesan and religious priests who come principally from the United States, but other English-speaking countries, too, which helps each to understand the greater horizon and local circumstances of the worldwide Church in its various places. In this, there is a significant new level of formation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Most evenings and weekends are free, which offers the opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of pastoral and cultural activities.
The Institute for Continuing Theological Education is housed in its own quarters, on the campus of the Pontifical North American College on the Janiculum Hill, overlooking the Vatican and much of Rome. Completely renovated in 2010, Casa O’Toole, has its own chapel, classroom, lounge and dining room.
Each private room is fully furnished with a bathroom and individually controlled heat and air conditioning. Priests have use of the College’s library, brand new fitness center, and money-exchange services.
FALL 2018 – MODULE 1 (4 wks) $6,700
FALL 2018 – MODULE 2 (3 wks) $5,400
FALL 2018 – MODULE 3 (4 wks) $6,100
SPRING 2019 (12 WEEK SESSION) $12,500
Optional Holy Land Pilgrimage $3,500
Rev. James M. Sullivan, O.P.
Office: (39 06) 6849-34100
Room: (39 06) 6849-34111
Cell: (39) 366-865-3126