Inaugurated in the summer of 2018, the Philadelphia Catholic Scholars Program (PCSP) at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is an annual event sponsored by the Vocation Office for the Diocesan Priesthood and supported by a grant from The Connolly Foundation.
This year’s program, which took place July 5-14, welcomed eight high school junior and senior aged men for 10 days of learning, daily seminar classes and lectures, and forming good friendships with like-minded Catholic men.
This year’s theme, Faith & Reason, challenged the young men to probe the role of both faith and reason in the pursuit of truth. Participants read and discussed some of the great philosophical and theological texts of Western literature, including works by Aristotle, Plato, Boethius, Aquinas, Chesterton, and Pope St. John Paul II. Daily seminars and evening lectures were taught by professors from the seminary and Villanova University.
Luke Patton, a student from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, reflected on the value of his studies saying, “Aquinas’ …. rational approach to understanding the existence of God offers us valuable insights into the intersection of faith and reason, inviting us to contemplate the divine and the world around us.”
In addition to academics, PCSP aims to form the whole person, with the men attending daily Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and participating in recreational activities such as volleyball, movies, basketball, and pool. Additionally, the men enjoyed a day exploring Philadelphia and learning about the various architectural styles of multiple churches in the City.
Many of the young men who took part in the program remarked on “the consistency of prayer every day,” “fraternity with the rest of the guys in the program,” and “the chance to participate in dialogue and debate.”
Successful completion of the program includes a presentation and final paper on a particular author or topic that each participant enjoyed. All who successfully completed the coursework earned three college credits in humanities.
In his presentation, Joshua Brown, a student at Roman Catholic High School, observed, “All of us are urged to seek happiness in something beyond this world. True and lasting happiness lies in the embrace of God who alone can provide true wealth, true power, true honor, and true pleasure.”
Exil Mukama, a student at West Catholic Preparatory High School, summed up this year’s theme in his presentation saying, “By integrating faith and reason, we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of our beliefs and the world we live in.”
For more information on PCSP or other programs offered by the Vocation Office for the Diocesan Priesthood, visit HeedtheCall.org, or contact Fr. David Friel, Vocation Director, at email@example.com.
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