Catholic liberal arts education is the study of God and man, and God made man. Students are called to learn from and love the works of man—especially those made for the glory of God. It fits then that Thomas More College students should spend a whole academic term in one of the world’s great cities—the site of the empire that shaped Western history and the seat of the universal Church.
In their Rome semester, Thomas More College sophomores traverse catacombs and cloisters, piazzas and palazzos, exploring the heart of the Christian West. The history of Christendom is written in the stones and on the ceilings, in the streets and the cemeteries, and the skyline is dominated not by skyscrapers but by the dome of St. Peter’s.
Through most of Rome, every 500 yards or so, there stands an exquisite chapel or church—one perhaps designed by Bernini, or Borromini, ornamented with art that ranges from ancient mosaics to high Baroque altarpieces, from Renaissance frescos to affectionate memorials of Padre Pio, festooned with plastic flowers. Each day, Rome Program Director and Fellow Paul Connell ’85 leads the student body on explorations focused on theology, art, and architecture.
The Roman semester immerses students in the details of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance art and the history and teachings of the Church. Students also explore Renaissance churches in Florence and Orvieto, visiting the cave of St. Benedict in Subiaco, the eerie Etruscan tombs at Cerveteri, and the city of St. Francis, Assisi.
Many ventures outside the classroom, gallery, and basilica engage in one of the Church’s most critical apostolates—communications. In Rome, Thomas More sophomores are invited to participate in internships, such as those offered by the College’s Vatican Studies Center with the Internet-based Catholic media agency, H2o News. Thomas More College students help create TV broadcasts about Church news sent around the world—editing copy, correcting translations, and dubbing the voices of newsmakers, cardinals, and even the Pope. Others take advantage of Vatican Studies events to meet with the staff of L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.