Catholicism and the Common Good Summer Seminar
When: Thursday, June 25 to Saturday, June 27, 2020
Where: University of Pennsylvania and Penn Catholic Newman Center
The Collegium Institute is excited to introduce Catholicism and the Common Good, the summer session of CI’s Young Catholic Leaders Initiative for advanced high school students at the Penn Catholic Newman Center and on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.
Each day will focus on one of the ‘three necessary societies’ stipulated by Catholic Social Teaching, namely, the family, the state, and the Church. Through a combination of keynote lectures and seminars with Penn faculty, panel discussions and city tours with experts in local history, we will explore the principles undergirding Catholic thought on the common good by engaging with thinkers ranging from Augustine and Aquinas to Weil and Wojtyla, as well as seeking to apply those principles to our contemporary American context.
This seminar is open to high school students who will be entering their junior or senior year in the Fall of 2021, and rising college freshmen.
Applicants are required to submit the following: a cover letter explaining your interest in the seminar, your current unofficial transcript, and the email addresses of two faculty member references.The priority application deadline is Friday, May 15th, and the final application deadline is Wednesday, May 29th at 11:59pm.
Collegium will continue to monitor the unfolding coronavirus situation. As it stands, we are capping the number of admitted students to 20 in order to keep the gathering small as well as to facilitate optimal seminar conditions. If, however, it proves impossible to host Catholicism and the Common Good as currently scheduled, the Collegium Institute will postpone the seminar. Any admitted applicants will be given the choice to attend Catholicism and the Common Good at the rescheduled date, or Collegium will refund the cost of the registration fee. Please note that there is no cost to apply; students that are admitted and plan to attend will be required to pay a registration fee of $30. To apply, please click below.
Accepted students are expected to arrive at the Penn Catholic Newman Center at 9am on Thursday, June 25th for registration and breakfast. The Collegium Institute will provide breakfast and lunch on June 25th and June 26th, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner on June 27th. The Collegium Institute will not provide overnight housing; students must coordinate with their parents to return home by the end of programming at 5:30pm on June 25-26, and 7:30pm on Saturday, June 27th.
Every morning after breakfast, students will participate in a two hour seminar on the philosophical and theological underpinnings of each of the three necessary societies: family, state, and Church.
Students will have the option of attending daily Mass at noon every day of the seminar, followed by lunch.
After lunch, students will participate in a two hour seminar on the practical applications of the principles explored in the morning seminar, viewing the family, the state, and the Church through the lenses of intellectual history and political thought.
Following the afternoon seminar, there will be a different activity every day ranging from scavenger hunts and poetry recitations to tours of the city and local museums.
Below is a general outline of what students can expect each day.
Thursday, June 25th
The First Necessary Society: The Family
Persons and Relationships: On Friendship and Family
9:00-9:30am, Registration and Breakfast
9:45-11:45am, Morning Seminar: On Personhood, Friendship, and Marriage
1:30-2:30pm, Guided Tour of Penn’s Campus
2:30-4:30pm, Afternoon Seminar: The History of the Family in America
4:30-5:30pm, Scavenger Hunt on Penn’s Campus
Friday, June 26th
The Second Necessary Society: The State
Souls in the State and the State of Souls: Community of Persons
9:30-11:30am, Morning Seminar: On Justice and the State
1:00-2:00pm, A Guided Tour of Sacred and Secular Philadelphia
2:00-4:00pm, How Americans Became Catholic
4:00-5:30pm, A Guided Tour of Sacred and Secular Philadelphia
Saturday, June 27th
The Third Necessary Society: The Church
The Church in Society: Communion of Saints
9:30-11:30am, Morning Seminar: The Church as Necessary Society
1:30-3:30pm, Afternoon Seminar: Catholicism in Contemporary America: Religious Liberty and Incipient Integralism
3:45-4:45pm, Guided Tour of Renaissance Manuscript Exhibition
5:00-6:30pm, Panel Discussion on How Catholics Became American
Students are required to have done the readings prior to their arrival on campus. Admitted students will receive a hard copy of the readings one month before the beginning of the seminar. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Leo XIII, Weil, Anscombe, and John Paul II, among others.
The faculty members for this seminar are affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and the Collegium Institute under the leadership of Prof. Daniel Cheely, Executive Director of the Collegium Institute, also the Executive Director and Perry Family Scholar of History, Religion & Culture, Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society, at the University of Pennsylvania. Faculty members include Dr. Michael Breidenbach, a research associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Janice T. Chik, Barry Foundation Fellow and Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Admitted students will be notified of their status by June 4th. A $30 registration fee is required of all admitted students.
Please email Jose Perez-Benzo at jperezbenzo@