Holy Spirit College in Atlanta Rises on the Two Wings of Faith and Reason
Theology, and Catholic Education. They anticipate the addition of additional majors through a partnership with Ave Maria University. They have initiated a Masters of Theology Program and anticipate the development of additional graduate degrees of Master of Philosophy, Catholic Education, and Psychology. Long term, the College will offer a PhD in Theology. When that happens, I hope they consider a deacon for that faculty.
The emphasis on Philosophy places the College in the forefront of responding to the recent "Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy," which Pope Benedict XVI approved Jan. 28 (the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas). The emphasis on theology places it in the center of Ex Corde Ecclesia which reminds us, "Theology plays a particularly important role in the search for a synthesis of knowledge as well as in the dialogue between faith and reason. It serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning." (#19)
Holy Spirit College offers a classically oriented liberal arts curriculum understanding there is no dichotomy between "faith and reason". In Blessed John Paul's Encyclical Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio) he wrote "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth-in a word, to know himself-so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."
Fidelity to the teaching office of the Catholic Church is the lifeblood of this College. President Genner told me the College is "loyal to the Magisterium and absolutely in step with the Holy Father", to which I responded with a hearty "Amen". He made a point of telling me that they reject the labels "liberal" and "conservative". It was music to my tired ears because so do I. For this College, as I have said for years, "Catholic is the Noun" and not simply an adjective.
A Catholic College must understand its ecclesial nature. In an institution, just as in persons, this identity begins from the inside and works its way throughout like leaven or yeast in a loaf. A Catholic culture ensures the integration of the faith in every aspect of the academy, through both word and witness. Such a Catholic culture flourishes when all who are involved in this educational mission, from the Catholic College President to the Professor in the classroom, first view themselves as disciples, lifelong learners, followers of the Teacher, Jesus Christ.
This describes Holy Spirit College. Its unique history has given it a very distinctive environment in which this Catholic culture flourishes. It was birthed from the vibrant Holy Spirit Parish in Atlanta and the wonderful Holy Spirit Preparatory School. They share the campus and together experience the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Patron of this wonderful Catholic community. The College enjoys dedicated facilities within the parish complex including college lecture theaters, a satellite library, a break room, and offices.
I will be writing much more about this treasure in Atlanta, Georgia. Those "two wings of faith and reason" are elevating the students at Holy Spirit College and calling all of us to see the future with living faith.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Holy Spirit College, Catholic College, Ex Corde Ecclesia, Garreth Genner, Catholic Colleges, orthodoxy, Deacon Keith Fournier
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