.- Students of the Augustine Institute not only gain knowledge of the Catholic faith, but they also learn how to effectively communicate the Gospel message in an increasingly secular society.
In its third year of offering courses, the Augustine Institute continues to develop Catholic leaders by offering Master of Arts degrees on two different tracks: Sacred Scripture and Evangelization and Catechetics.
Professor of Scripture and Provost, Dr. Edward Sri told CNA that the institute was founded to develop leaders and educators for the New Evangelization. “Traditional orthodox theology is absolutely essential, but by itself, it is not enough for people to engage the culture that is increasingly indifferent and hostile to a Catholic way of life.”
“It requires much more than solid, orthodox teaching,” he continued.
The programs at the Augustine Institute are one of a kind. They have a unique, interdisciplinary program with “the best theology, scripture study as well as an understanding of where modern men and women are coming from.” These courses are combined with a class that teaches the skills necessary to communicate the timeless Gospel message.
This emphasis has drawn as many as 30 students each year to study at the Augustine Institute. Each of which are hoping to use their knowledge and formation to help others grow in love for Christ and His Church in the career that God is calling them.
“We are developing future and current leaders in the Catholic Church. We have youth ministers, teachers, volunteers, lay people, and FOCUS Missionaries of all ages learning essential truths of the Church and how to bring our faith to others. No matter what walk of life the students come from, we all have a desire deepen our faith and evangelize our community through effective catechesis,” current student Tom Maschka noted.
Julie Reiff, a current second-year student was one of the many students who was drawn to the school because of the “passionate, dynamic professors.”
“[They] live what they, as Catholics, believe and teach, both in and out of the walls of the classroom. Our professors care not only about our academic formation but also encourage spiritual development and guiding us in the knowledge of our individual roles within the New Evangelization.”
“They open their hearts and homes to the students,” she continued. “Their doors are open not only for academic guidance but also for personal formation. They truly care for the students and are dedicated in their pursuit of training and forming leaders for the New Evangelization.”
The list of faculty members includes: Dr. Edward Sri, the author/co-author of 10 books, including the best-selling The Da Vinci Deception and The New Rosary in Scripture, Professor Sean Innerst, the founding Provost of the Archdiocese of Denver’s St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and Dr. Tim Gray, the co-author of The Great Adventure Bible Timeline program as well as the Executive Director of the largest Catholic Biblical School in the United States. Other professors include Professor Curtis Martin, the Founder and President of FOCUS, the nation’s largest Catholic campus evangelization program, Dr. Joe Burns who has 20 years of leadership experience in the Air Force and in youth/adult catechesis, and Dr. Jonathan Reyes, the Founding President of the Augustine Institute.
Sandra Chamberlin, an alumna of the inaugural class of 2006, noted that not only are the professors academic teachers, but they’re also living examples of how to live an authentically Catholic life.
“The Augustine Institute professors love and live the faith they teach. As Pope Paul VI said, ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’. The professors are both witnesses and teachers in the truest senses of the words.”
Maschka agreed, stating, “Though they each have a certain style, all of our professors come together to show the story of our great faith and prepare us for active participation in the New Evangelization.”
The “coming together” of the professors is one of the strengths of the university noted by Sri. Through their friendships, the professors discuss the material they are presenting the classroom. “What we do in the classroom flows from a deep friendship and a common desire to serve in the New Evangelization.”
The impact of the professors hasn’t stopped at graduation. Graduate and current high school youth minister in the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas, Stacy Cretors says that not only did the professors show her “how to be a better friend, sister, daughter, and hopefully one day a better wife and mother…but they invested themselves in me as a person...and all of them have continued to do so even after graduation.”
The Augustine Institute plans on introducing a summer program beginning in 2008. The program will accommodate teachers and catechists around the US who can’t make it to Denver for courses during the academic year. These courses are planned to be 4-day, intensive courses likely to be at the end of July.
For more information about the Augustine Institute, please visit their website at www.augustineinstitute.org.