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A Theology of the Family

22nd December 2022

A Theology of the Family: The Strange Case of the Bare Feet

Stefan Kaminski
Perugino - Adoration of he Magi
Perugino's Adoration of the Magi, in Citta' delle Pieve, Italy

Perugino’s Adoration of the Magi in Citta’ delle Pieve, Italy (as opposed to the one in Perugia) contains a curious detail which is easily overlooked at first glance. In the dim light of the small Oratory that houses this painting, the vibrant colours of the principal figures in the foreground pop out and create an almost 3D effect. The observer’s gaze is drawn across the breadth of the painting by the various garments of the ten or so persons that flank the child Jesus in the centre. One is conscious of the depth and activity that stretches away behind this first row of figures, but the colours readily draw the eye back to the primary scene. It is not easy for the eye to then drop down to the protagonists’ feet, which are very much where you expect them to be. By virtue of their sensibly-coloured footwear, they do not demand any particular attention: that is, until one notices that the feet of some of these important people are bare.

The feet that have most obviously exposed themselves to the elements are those of Mary and Joseph. Perhaps a nod to their humble state, in view of the bare-footed shepherds that hover in the background, and in contrast to the calced extremities of their noble visitors? The homogeneity of the garments across this front row of figures would suggest not. Closer examination reveals that one more of these principal figures is also bare-footed: the bearded gentlemen at the far right. Why should he not have worn some sandals on this visit?

If, by some astute observation (or perhaps at the prompt of a helpful guide), one compares this man with the discalced Holy Family, and then particularly with the figure of Joseph, one starts to notice some strange similarities: a perfect parallel in bodily posture, from the angle of the head down to the distribution of weight and position of the feet; an identical facial profile and features; a reflection of each other’s expression. The only distinguishing feature, other than the colour of the garments, is that the man’s beard is much fuller and longer, and is distinctly double-stranded.

The only clue that can be claimed with certainty is that this particular beard is clearly used by Perugino in other of his paintings on the figure of God the Father. If we are to suppose, then, that Perugino did indeed intend this figure as the Heavenly Father, one can also note the gold girdle around his waist – typically depicting sovereignty or royalty – and the celestial blue of his undergarment – a classical indicator of a spiritual being.

This striking relation between the figures of Joseph and God the Father immediately calls to mind St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (3:14-15). The painting appears to express precisely this: Jesus’ foster-faster, Joseph, is shadowed by the real Father, who manifests His presence discreetly in the background and at the same time somehow lends authority to the figure of Joseph. Joseph’s persona thus takes on a fuller sense when one realises that his fatherhood, though temporal, is exercised in the name of the Father.

Joseph, who plays such a strong, yet silent role before and through the infancy of Jesus, quietly disappears from the Gospels as the Christ emerges into the maturity of His humanity and the fullness of His divine mission. Yet his presence is a reminder that God the Son was not born into some extraordinary situation, even if His Incarnation was an extraordinary event. The Divine Saviour was inserted into the ordinary and regular pattern of the nuclear family – father and mother – surrounded by their extended family and relations.

Given the non-biological nature of Joseph’s fatherhood, one might ask whether there is any deeper meaning to his role than simply that of fostering the child and providing stability and support to the mother. Perugino, if we have interpreted his painting correctly, seems to very much think there is. And indeed, more authoritative support comes from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Their long genealogies trace Jesus’ ancestry through each generation from Adam through to Joseph, passing through the lineage of Abraham and his Israelite descendants, encompassing kings and prostitutes alike.

Fans of Tolkien will be all-too-familiar with those long pages in The Lord of the Rings that are preoccupied with tracing the lineage of Frodo Baggins, Aragorn or one of the Dwarves. Indeed, ancestry is an absolutely critical part of all Tolkien’s writings that tell the story of his fantasy world, beginning with its creation, as told in the Silmarillion, through several epochs until the ‘redemption’ of Middle-Earth with the defeat of Sauron and the destruction of the Ring of Power.

In his mythical vision of reality, Tolkien merely reflects what is divinely and humanly true; namely, that the human person is not an isolated ego, a self-defined construct, or a morally-autonomous being. The human person has an origin and a destiny, is given their existence and context, and is called to act for the concrete good of his neighbours.

Thus, at a legal and social level, Joseph’s importance is in providing Jesus with a crucial part of His human ‘identity’, through which He is inserted into a chain of parents and progeny. This is deliberately traced right back to its very origins, pointing us back to the Father, after whom every family is named. It similarly evokes future progeny, the generation of which is the primary purpose of the family. In the case of Christ, that progeny is potentially every person throughout human history, who through faith in Him, are all called as adopted children of the same Father.

The Church’s vision of the human family is thus grounded in the nuclear family for a good reason: the family is the context and means intended by God for the flourishing of humanity. God Himself assumed humanity in this context, and whilst He ‘only’ adopted an earthly father, the figure of Joseph speaks powerfully of the more important and fundamental reality that is true of every family. This is the same truth that St Paul is at pains to point out in his letter to the Ephesians, and has been recognised since the early Church Fathers: Fatherhood, properly speaking, is a reality that only belongs to God. God is Father of all because He is creator of all. In the same way that the very existence of every being depends on the supreme Existence, the fatherhood (as expressed in the complementary, generative power of both sexes) of the human person only and ever has any meaning as a reflection of and cooperation with the Divine Fatherhood.

Inserted into the specific strand of Joseph’s ancestry, the Holy Family raises the stakes for all human families. No longer is the family simply the font of earthly life, but it is now joined to the Divine project of Redemption. The human family not only remains a co-operator in the mystery of creation (to paraphrase St John Paul II), participating with God in the creation of human persons: it is now an embodiment of the mystical marriage between Christ and His Church, and its primary task is now to generate children for the Kingdom of God. As Perugino depicts so beautifully, human fatherhood is a task that is given by God, and answerable for to Him alone.

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Courses Events

Marriage Preparation

Marriage Preparation 2023

One-day & Weekend courses

Preparing you for marriage in the Catholic Church

“It is necessary to make preparatory programmes for the Sacrament of Marriage ever more effective, not only for human growth, but above all for the faith of the engaged couples. The fundamental objective of this encounter is to help engaged couples realise a progressive integration into the mystery of Christ, in the Church and with the Church.” (Pope Francis, Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, 21 January 2017)

About CHC Marriage Preparation courses

Our courses meet the requirements for preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church.

They have been specifically designed to offer couples a presentation of fundamental, underlying themes as well as of the Sacrament of Marriage itself, according to the theological vision of the Catholic Church. Intrinsic to this presentation is an emphasis on personal integrity and honest communication as a couple, founded on the primary relationship with God.

Our Director, Stefan Kaminski, gained a licentiate at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family Life, the Church’s only institute dedicated to this area. He is supported by his wife, Eleonora, who is similarly qualified, and a team of couples who are experienced in delivering marriage preparation as well as in marriage itself!

Our events take place at Theodore House, set on the stunning Stonyhurst estate in the Ribble Valley.

One-day course

Saturday 4th March 2023, 10am - 5pm

Our one-day course packs in all the fundamental themes necessary to providing couples with a clear overview of the beautiful vision for marriage offered by the Catholic Church.
 
Central to this is the Gospel message and the individual call to respond to God’s love, and the role of marriage in serving as an icon of God’s Covenant with His People.
 
The nature of the Sacrament of Marriage is closely examined through the promises that couples will make during the wedding ceremony.
 
Time for discussion in small groups with a plenary Q&A session and a worksheet of questions will provide couples with important points for reflection as they approach their wedding.
 
The cost of the day includes a buffet lunch and refreshments.
Marriage preparation
Cost

£60 per person / £120 per couple

Weekend course (residential)

Friday 24th - Sunday 26th March 2023

Our weekend course is a fantastic opportunity to engage more deeply, individually and as a couple, with the Catholic vision of marriage. Allowing a greater space and time to reflect, it will offer each couple much to consider in the lead up to and into their marriage.

The weekend is fully-catered, with a framework of prayer, input, discussion and social time to allow for a rich experience and meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The weekend is divided into three main themes, with two sessions per theme:

Theme 1 – Love: God & Creation / Communication & Communion

Theme 2 – Marriage: The Covenant / The Language of the Body

Theme 3 – Fruitfulness: The Creative Nature of Love / Fertility Care

Please note:

  • The cost of the weekend includes all meals and non-alcoholic refreshments (alcoholic beverages will be available to purchase).
  • Participants will be assigned a single, en-suite room each. Integral to the course is an independent and honest examination of oneself and one’s commitment before God, and the personal space that is required to enable this. By booking onto this course, participants agree to respect the condition of one person per room.
Marriage preparation
Cost

£220 per person / £440 per couple

Arrivals for 6pm on Friday

Departures from 4pm on Sunday

Subsidies may be available for couples wishing to join this course, who are unable to pay the full cost. Please contact events@christianheritagecentre.com

Location:
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Events

Shroud of Turin Exhibition

Shroud of Turin Exhibition

Monday 6th - Wednesday 22nd March 2023

Featuring a full-sized replica of the Shroud of Turin

The original Shroud of Turin is rarely shown to the public. This exhibition offers visitors an important chance to engage with what is arguably the most enigmatic artefact known to man.

Accompanying the replica will be a historical and scientific commentary, looking at both its authenticity and its importance for Christians. 

Shroud of Turin

Originally called “The Shroud of Christ”, it was owned by the House of Savoy, who moved it from Chambéry to Turin in the late 15th century. Devotion to the shroud spread across the world after the first photograph was taken of it 1898, with the negative returning a clear image of the face of Jesus.

Numerous scientific investigations into the Shroud have been unable to suggest a viable explanation for the production of the image, and evidence of its origins at the start of the first millenium remains otherwise unexplained. Today, the actual Shroud is only on public view on rare occasions, the last being in 2012.

Carbon-dating tests conducted in 2014, which seemed to date the Shroud to the 14th century, have been acknowledged to be invalid due to the failure to follow standard protocols.

It is for this reason that exhibition is so important, as it offers ordinary people that chance to catch a glimpse of the Shroud. This replica was constructed from the original photography undertaken by Barrie Schwortz. It unveils some of the mysteries and the research done on the Shroud, besides providing an in-depth historical and Scriptural engagement with the Passion undertaken by Our Lord. 

Details about the exhibition can be found here.

Opening Lecture

Thursday 9th March 2023 @ 7:30pm

Curator of the exhibition and Shroud expert, Pam Moon, will open the exhibition with a talk.

Hear about the history of the Shroud, its hidden features revealed by scientific investigation, and the information it contains that correspond to ancient Roman forms of torture and execution.

Cost

£10 per head, £7 with discount. Includes exclusive viewing of the exhibition from 5:30pm onwards, talk, Q&A and refreshments

Pam Moon

Exhibition Open Days

The exhibition will be open to the public for viewing on the following days with no booking required:

Friday 10th March 2023, 9am - 5:30pm

Saturday 11th March 2023, 10am - 5pm

Sunday 12th March 2023, 10am - 5pm

Come and discover the secrets of the Shroud and its profound significance for the Christian faith.

Cost

Free. Donations welcome

Shroud of Turin

Overnight Package

Travelling from further afield? Make the most of a visit with exclusive access to the exhibition all evening, a delicious dinner, comfortable accommodation and breakfast, available on the following nights:

Friday 10th March 2023

Saturday 11th March 2023

Cost

£85 per person, single en-suite room

£135 per two people, twin en-suite room

Includes refreshments on arrival, 2-course hot dinner, a glass of prosecco or similar, bed and breakfast

See more information about Theodore House here.

Group Bookings

Schools, parishes and other groups may request to view the exhibition on the following days, subject to availability:

Monday 13th March 2023 through to

Wednesday 22nd March 2023

Catering, from refreshments to hot lunches, is available upon request.

Please complete the form below to request a group visit.

Cost

A recommended donation of £3 per person is requested.

Shroud of Turin
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Courses Events

Human Nature, Gender & Identity [residential course]

Short summer courses

CEPHAS

'Who do you say that I am?' Human Nature, Gender, and Identity 25th - 28th August 2023

Exploring foundational themes with Thomistic philosophy & theology

“The disorientation regarding anthropology, which is a widespread feature of our cultural landscape, has undoubtedly helped to destabilise the family as an institution, bringing with it a tendency to cancel out the differences between men and women, presenting them instead as merely the product of historical and cultural conditioning”

Congregation for Catholic Education, “‘Male and Female He Created Them’: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education” (2019)

In partnership with

The course requires no prior qualification or knowledge, but is intended to serve as an introduction or primer to Catholic, Thomistic philosophy and theology.

The course is offered to anyone wishing to engage in this area. It may be of special interest to future, current or former students of philosophy and theology, and secondary-level teachers of the same.

For queries about the course content or requirements, please contact Dr George Corbett at gc63@st-andrews.ac.uk

CEPHAS courses are built around a combination of philosophical and theological lectures and workshops, with plenty of discussion.

A guest talk, accompanied by good wine, is offered on one of the evenings.

The course is framed by opportunities for Mass during the day and communal prayer in the morning and evening.

Prof. George Corbett (Director of CEPHAS) is Professor of Theology at the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews. Previously, he held positions as Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy, Trinity College, and affiliated lecturer, University of Cambridge. He received his BA (double first), MPhil (distinction), and PhD (AHRC-funded) from the University of Cambridge. He has also studied in Pisa (as an Erasmus-Socrates exchange scholar at La Scuola Normale Superiore), Rome (Institutum Pontificium Alterioris Latinitatis), and Montella (Vivarium Novum). 

He teaches and researches in historical and systematic theology (with specialisms in medieval theology, Aquinas’s theology and its influence, and Catholic theology) and theology and the arts (with specialisms in Dante studies, sacred music, and theological aesthetics).

Prof. Corbett is the author of Dante’s Christian Ethics: Purgatory and Its Moral Contexts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020) and Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment (Oxford: Legenda, 2013),  and is co-editor of Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy, 3 vols (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2015-17), an international collaboration by thirty-four scholars on a reappraisal of the whole poem. He has also published on Aquinas, sacred music, medieval theology, and the arts.

 

Sr Valery Walker, O.P. is a Dominican Sister of the Stone Congregation. In the early 1970s, she was introduced by Fr Romuald Horn O.P. to a particular method of studying the Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas. Since then, she has run numerous S Thomas study days and weekends.

 

 

 

Sr. Magdalene Eitenmiller, O.P. is a Dominican sister of the Stone Congregation.

She received a Master’s degree in Theology (Ave Maria University, Florida), and the Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Thomistic Studies (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.), and she is currently pursuing doctoral studies with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome. She is the author of “On the Separated Soul according to St. Thomas Aquinas,” Nova et Vetera 17.1 (2019):57-91 and “Grace as Participation according to St. Thomas Aquinas” New Blackfriars (2017): 689-708, among other publications

Sr. Magdalene teaches courses on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas online, and has developed a website called Thomisticstudies.org, as well as a Youtube channel, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

She believes that theological studies can help one develop a deeper union with God and strengthen one’s faith, especially when learning from the teachings of Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of all time.

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any residential course. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting with endless opportunities for walks. Guests will enjoy the comfortable recreational spaces and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

  • Arrivals from 3pm (Friday)
  • Course commences with dinner at 7pm (Friday) and introductions; lectures commence Saturday at 9:15am.
  • Departures after lunch (Monday)
Cost

Single room: £320 p.p.*

Twin room (sharing): £270 p.p.*

Non-residential, (includes lunch and dinner): £180 p.p.

*Costs include full board from Friday dinner to Monday lunch inclusive.

Bursaries are available for anyone (whether employed or not) who would like to come but would benefit from financial assistance. Please contact us at events@christianheritagecentre.com for further information.

“The lecture content was well organised and focused on practical situations – intellectually challenging, but stimulating and easy to follow. Presentation was great and brought emphasis on the important points.”

“Thank you so much for this conference and all the effort and hard work that has been put into it. The ability to gather and discuss with a framework of reflection and prayer/sacraments is truly precious.

Please register below (includes £50 p.p. deposit payment):

Venue:

Categories
Courses Events

Faith & Reason series [residential course]

Short summer courses

Faith & Reason series

Catholicism & Contemporary Culture
3rd - 6th August 2023

Explore the rationality of the Catholic Faith in today's world

***NEXT COURSE: 3rd-6th August 2023 - Catholicism & Contemporary Culture**

Our three Faith & Reason courses provide a systematic overview of the fundamental themes of the Catholic faith. At the same time, these are approached in the context of contemporary culture and thinking, in order to engage in a dialogue that is relevant today.

Each course is entirely standalone and does not require attendance at the other courses. The courses nonetheless offer a progression through the below three themes, whilst also providing some link-up material between each course:

  1. A Catholic Integration: Preparing a rational ground for faith and responding to perceived challenges to faith from philosophical and scientific viewpoints
  2. Catholicism & Contemporary Culture: Identifying and responding to underlying philosophical differences between the Catholic and secular conceptions of reality
  3. Living Catholicism Today: the lived-out dimension of the Catholic faith, with its moral and sacramental dynamic

Course topics

The Faith & Reason courses require no prior qualification or background in philosophy or theology, and are suited to anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith, whether from within or without the Church.

The courses will be particularly helpful for:

  • secondary-level teachers of RE
  • catechists, especially those working with teenagers and adults
  • leaders in educational or Church institutions

Each course consists of 9 lectures and a workshop, and closes with a general Q&A session.

The course is framed by opportunities for Mass during the day and communal prayer in the morning and evening.

Some free time for walks and reflection is offered as part of each course, as well as evening socials with a well-stocked bar!

Dr Caroline Farey has taught catechesis, theology and philosophy for many years throughout the English-speaking world. In 2017 she was appointed by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation to the working party for the General Directory for Catechesis, and in 2012 she was appointed by the Vatican as one of the lay experts at the Synod on the New Evangelisation. Dr Farey taught at St Mary’s Seminary Oscott and the Maryvale Institute, before working in Evangelisation and Catechesis for several UK dioceses.  She has licentiates in both philosophy and theology, besides a doctorate in philosophy, from pontifical institutes.

 

Dr Andrew Beards is a lecturer in philosophy at Allen Hall, London. For over thirty years he has lectured in Philosophy and Theology in Canada and the UK. Andrew has published work in academic journals and is the author of books, including Objectivity and Historical Understanding, (Brookfield. VA & Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997), Method in Metaphysics: (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), Insight and Analysis, (New York and London: Continuum, 2010), Philosophy the Quest for Truth and Meaning, (Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 2010) and  Lonergan, Meaning and Method: Philosophical Essays, (New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any residential course. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting with endless opportunities for walks. Guests will enjoy the comfortable recreational spaces and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

  • Arrivals from 3pm (Thursday)
  • Course commences at 6pm (Thursday)
  • Departures after lunch (Sunday)
Cost (per course)

Single room: £320 p.p.*

Twin room (sharing): £270 p.p.*

Non-residential, (includes lunch and dinner): £180 p.p.

*Costs include full board from Thursday dinner to Sunday lunch inclusive.

Please register below (includes £50 p.p. deposit payment):

Venue:

Categories
Courses Events

Faith & Reason 2 [residential course]

Faith & Reason 2:
Catholicism & Contemporary Culture
[residential course]

4th -7th August 2022

Approaches to truth, sacramentality and the symbolic in Catholicism and contemporary culture

The second in the Faith & Reason series of courses, exploring the rationality of the Catholic faith in today’s world

This short course examines some of the philosophical foundations of the Catholic faith, including the concept of truth and sacramentality, and explores how these shape the Church’s understanding of itself, of the Eucharist, of the Arts and of the Common Good.

The course offers a comparison with approaches to these themes that arise from modern and post-modern philosophical currents.

Participants benefit from 8 lectures and a workshop, a closing general Q&A session and time for reflection and discussion.

Opportunities for Mass and communal prayer will be offered, as well as plenty of social time with a well-stocked bar!

  • What is Truth? Contemporary Secularism vs Catholicism
  • Truth in the Public Square: Ideas & Ideologies
  • The New Atheists: Faith without Religion
  • Faith & the Arts: Reflecting the True, the Good & the Beautiful
  • Philosophical Foundations for Sacramentality
  • The Church and the Eucharist: One Faith, One Body
  • Societal Truth: Discerning the Common Good
  • Catechetical Pedagogy: Fundamentals of Communicating the Faith

The course requires no prior qualification or background in philosophy or theology, and is suited to anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith, whether from within or without the Church.

In delivering a very practical approach to philosophical and theological themes and dealing with contemporary challenges to Catholicism, the course will be particularly helpful for:

  • secondary-level teachers of RE
  • catechists, especially those working with teenagers and adults
  • leaders in educational or Church institutions

Our Faith & Reason series consists of a cycle of three summer courses, which together provide a systematic overview of the fundamental themes of the Catholic faith. At the same time, these are approached in the context of contemporary culture and thinking, in order to prepare

Each of the Faith & Reason courses is entirely standalone and does not require attendance at the other courses.

The courses nonetheless offer a progression through the below three themes, whilst also providing some link-up material between each course:

F&R 1: Preparing a rational ground for faith and responding to perceived challenges to faith from philosophical and scientific viewpoints

F&R 2: Identifying and responding to underlying philosophical differences between the Catholic and secular conceptions of reality

F&R 3: the lived-out dimension of the Catholic faith, with its moral and sacramental dynamic

Dr Caroline Farey has taught catechesis, theology and philosophy for many years throughout the English-speaking world. In 2017 she was appointed by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation to the working party for the General Directory for Catechesis, and in 2012 she was appointed by the Vatican as one of the lay experts at the Synod on the New Evangelisation. Dr Farey taught at St Mary’s Seminary Oscott and the Maryvale Institute, before working in Evangelisation and Catechesis for several UK dioceses.  She has licentiates in both philosophy and theology, besides a doctorate in philosophy, from pontifical institutes.

 

Dr Andrew Beards is a lecturer in philosophy at Allen Hall, London. For over thirty years he has lectured in Philosophy and Theology in Canada and the UK. Andrew has published work in academic journals and is the author of books, including Objectivity and Historical Understanding, (Brookfield. VA & Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997), Method in Metaphysics: (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), Insight and Analysis, (New York and London: Continuum, 2010), Philosophy the Quest for Truth and Meaning, (Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 2010) and  Lonergan, Meaning and Method: Philosophical Essays, (New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any residential course. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting with endless opportunities for walks. Guests will enjoy the comfortable recreational spaces and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

  • Arrivals from 3pm (Thursday)
  • Course commences at 6pm (Thursday)
  • Departures after lunch (Sunday)
Cost

Single room: £295 p.p.*

Twin room (sharing): £245 p.p.*

Non-residential, (includes lunch and dinner): £185 p.p.

*Costs include full board from Thursday dinner to Sunday lunch inclusive.

Deposit payments are ordinarily non-refundable.

Please register below (includes £50 p.p. deposit payment):

Venue:

Categories
Courses Events

The Search for Happiness [residential course]

The Search for Happiness:
The Cardinal Virtues & the Good Life
[residential course]

26th -29th August 2022

Philosophical & theological workshops
on foundational themes for happiness

When we speak of virtues—not only these cardinal ones, but all of them, every virtue—we must always have in mind the real man, the actual man. Virtue is not something abstract, detached from life, but, on the contrary, it has deep “roots” in life itself, it springs from the latter and forms it. Virtue has an impact on man’s life, on his actions and behaviour
(Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio)

In partnership with

Explore together four pillars of the good life – prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance – and how they orient and transform us in our search for happiness.

CEPHAS 2022 consists of philosophy and theology workshops on the cardinal virtues, giving participants the opportunity to reflect together on core human questions about our desires and affections, and about how we approach difficult decisions and respond justly to the challenges of the contemporary world.

Plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate, as well as for Mass, communal prayer and reflection. Evening guest talks and good wine!

  • An introductory session to the theme of Happiness and the Virtues
  • Four pairs of philosophy and theology workshops, addressing each of the four cardinal virtues
  • Two guest talks on complementary themes

The course requires no prior qualification or knowledge, but is intended to serve as an introduction or primer to Catholic, Thomistic philosophy and theology.

The course is offered to anyone wishing to engage in this area. It may be of special interest to future, current or former students of philosophy and theology, and secondary-level teachers of the same.

For queries about the course content or requirements, please contact Dr George Corbett at gc63@st-andrews.ac.uk

Dr George Corbett is Senior Lecturer in the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews. Previously, he held positions as Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy, Trinity College, and affiliated lecturer in Italian, University of Cambridge, where he also taught English literature and theology. He received his BA (double first), MPhil (distinction), and PhD (AHRC-funded) from the University of Cambridge. He has also studied in Pisa (as an Erasmus-Socrates exchange scholar at La Scuola Normale Superiore), Rome (Institutum Pontificium Alterioris Latinitatis), and Montella (Vivarium Novum). 

Dr Corbett directs CEPHAS (a Thomistic Centre for Philosophy and Scholastic Theology), TheoArtistry (a project linking up theologians and artists), and is leading on a new collaborative MLitt in Sacred Music. 

 

Sr Valery is a Dominican Sister of the Stone Congregation. In the early 1970s, she was introduced by Fr Romuald Horn O.P. to a particular method of studying the Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas. Since then, she has run numerous S Thomas study days and weekends.

 

 

Sr. Magdalene is a Dominican sister of the Stone Congregation. She received a Master’s degree in Theology (Ave Maria University, Florida), a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Thomistic Studies (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.), and she is currently pursuing doctoral studies with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome. Sr. Magdalene teaches courses on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas online, and has developed a website called Thomisticstudies.org, as well as a Youtube channel, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any residential course. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting with endless opportunities for walks. Guests will enjoy the comfortable recreational spaces and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

  • Arrivals from 3pm (Friday)
  • Course commences with dinner at 7pm (Friday) and introductions; lectures commence Saturday at 9:15am.
  • Departures after lunch (Monday)
Timings

Single room: £240 p.p.*

Twin room (sharing): £190 p.p.*

Non-residential, (includes lunch and dinner): £120 p.p.

*Costs include full board from Friday dinner to Monday lunch inclusive.

Bursaries are available for anyone (whether employed or not) who would like to come but would benefit from financial assistance. Please contact Dr Corbett for further information.

 

Please register below (includes £50 p.p. deposit payment):

Venue:

Categories
Clergy Events Retreats

Priesthood: Ever Ancient, Ever New

Priesthood:
Ever Ancient, Ever New
[silent clergy retreat]

Monday 17th - Friday 21st April [2023]

A retreat for secular and religious clergy reflecting on the nature of Christ's priesthood, as shared by the priest.

The retreat will be preached by Mgr John Armitage, of the Diocese of Brentwood.

  • Secular and religious clergy, deacons and seminarians welcome!
  • The retreat will be preached, with opportunities for confession.
  • Clergy are welcome to con/celebrate Mass individually at their own time, in Theodore House Oratory or St Peter’s Church.
  • Daily Holy Hour and Compline.

Mgr John Armitage is a priest of Brentwood Diocese. He is currently parish priest of Canning Town, having returned to his East End roots after serving as Rector of the National Shrine of Walsingham for five years.

 

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any retreat. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting and endless opportunities for walks.

All accommodation is en-suite, with comfortable facilities and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

Arrivals are welcome on the Monday from 1pm for a 3pm start.

Departures on Friday are from 3pm.

Cost:

£360 (includes single, en-suite room and full board)

Please register below (deposit payment required):

Venue:

Categories
Events Retreats

Priests in post-Covid Britain [clergy retreat]

Priests in (post-?)Covid Britain
[silent clergy retreat]

Monday 3rd - Friday 7th October [2022]

A retreat for secular and religious clergy, reflecting on the lessons of Covid and on how a bounce-back might be effected.

The retreat will be preached by Fr de Malleray, of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter.

The Covid lockdown has taken a toll on priests and their congregations. Congregations have diminished and some churches are struggling to remain open. Furthermore, there have already been warnings that worse might yet affect society and the Church in the future. What are the lessons from Covid? How can the Church “bounce back”?

The retreat will cover the following themes:

1) The Church’s teaching on nature and grace, remembering that sin wounds nature but does not destroy it.

2) The Church’s understanding of divine grace, which priests are equipped to transmit to souls to lead them to everlasting glory.

3) The priest’s powers and mission, drawn from Christ the Redeemer as priestly Model.

  • Secular and religious clergy, deacons and seminarians welcome!
  • The retreat will be preached, with two conferences per day.
  • Clergy are welcome to celebrate Mass individually at their own time, in Theodore House Oratory or St Peter’s Church.
  • Daily Holy Hour and Latin Compline.

Fr Armand de Malleray began his ministry in the Southwark Archdiocese in 2001. He has been giving clergy retreats at various venues in England and abroad for over two decades. As rector of St Mary’s Shrine, he is based in the Liverpool Archdiocese. He is the author of the following books:

Theodore House offers a wonderful venue for any retreat. The tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Stonyhurst estate offer a peaceful setting and endless opportunities for walks.

All accommodation is en-suite, with comfortable facilities and a beautifully lanscaped garden.

For more information about Theodore House, please click here.

Arrivals are welcome on the Monday from 1pm for a 3pm start.

Departures on Friday are from 3pm.

Cost:

£320 (includes single, en-suite room and full board)

Please register below (deposit payment required):

Venue:

Categories
Blog Media

The ancient practice of Iconography

6th May 2022

The ancient practice of Iconography

Rev. Nikita Andrejev talks about this original tradition of Christian sacred art, which has been integral to the spiritual life of Christians since apostolic times.

Is Icongraphy primarily a religious practice in former times? When did it become available to lay people & even those not allied to a Christian tradition?

We know very little concerning the identities of the ancient iconographers. Some of them were monks with a high level of spiritual life, like St Andrei Rublev who painted the famous Trinity, and St. Alipiy of the Kiev Caves. But whatever their background, at least on some level the painting would require entering into a relationship with the saints depicted, with the dogmas and tenets of the faith. Icons on display in churches were by definition designed for lay people’s appreciation.

This is all the more the case in our own times, where icons can be enjoyed as works of art but have an appeal that goes beyond superficial beauty and technical skill. There is a general hunger for spirituality in the West and the rediscovery and appreciation of the Eastern Church’s Orthodox iconography is very much part of this. An icon is at base a spiritual portrait, suggesting the mystery of the divine – yet whatever one’s beliefs, what could be more universal than a simple yet attentive depiction of a human face?

Rublev's famous icon of the Trinity, symbolised by the three angels who visit Abraham at Mamre

How did you come to learn the skill of iconography?

I learned the skill of icon painting from my father. As a child, I watched him both painting and teaching in his studio. Icons were at the centre of his life; not just professionally and spiritually, but socially, too – both my parents enjoyed entertaining his students to meals and to an annual ‘open house’.

I loved the sense of peace, of safety, in his studio, but I also enjoyed learning the practical skills of how to draw, to paint, and this gradually developed into assisting him with aspects of creating the icons he worked on. As a teenager I would accompany him to summer workshops, acting as his translator, but by then I had already realised that my future was as an artist, creating icons and teaching iconography.

Are you an Iconographer who teaches or an Iconography teacher who paints icons? What is the relationship between your Iconography practice and your role as an iconography teacher?

The two spheres of painting and teaching certainly feed into each other. I teach based on the experience of my own painting, but many times it’s when in a workshop that I’m better able to test out or implement a ‘plan’ for a given stage of the painting, say a certain colour combination. Perhaps because in a class, where many students are painting one and the same subject, you have the chance to see one and the same plan, the same paint combinations, unfold in ten or twenty very different ways! You can see the limits of what is possible, the potentials as well as the difficulties.

Perhaps more importantly, though, when taking a workshop you have to be very focussed, very time-conscious. You are responsible for other people, and this is always a challenge, but also an opportunity to grow, by observing and learning from others. So from one perspective, workshops are very good for the teacher! Whatever the balance between my role as painter and teacher, I don’t see myself as a fount of knowledge – as iconographers we are all at various stages of learning…

Deacon Nikita Andrejev is an iconographer and instructor based in Estonia, belonging to the Prosopon School of Iconology.

He will be teaching the CHC’s course on Ancient Byzantine Iconography in June 2022.