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New Course Offerings: Classics of Christian Culture

There is a vast collection of literary and spiritual classics produced by writers whose imaginative vision is shaped by a Christian worldview: theologians, novelists, poets, and mystics like Augustine, Dante, Julian of Norwich, John of the Cross, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Hopkins, Dostoevsky, C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, Walker Percy, Flannery O-Connor and many others. Many of us have somehow managed to bypass these great works in our own education. Or if we have read some of them it has been a while and itis time to be reacquainted with these great texts.

In this age when we are flooded by the ephemeral works of mass media and pop culture, it is important to take time to read from the classics and allow them to shape our minds and hearts with their profound Christian vision.

The Pontifical Paul VI Institute of Catechetical and Pastoral Studies will be offering you the opportunity to read and discuss these texts guided by an expert. These are non-credit courses. There are no tests or papers. Think of these courses as online book clubs led by knowledgeableguides. The teacher will guide you through the text, answer questions and lead participants in online discussion of the readings. Because they are non-credit, these courses are offered at half the regular price. (Those who belong to parishes in our Comprehensive Catechetical Plan can take these courses at no cost)

This Spring semester we will be offering an introduction to Dante's Divine Comedy, one of the greatest narrative poems in world literature (see description below). Dante's poetic vision of heaven, hell and purgatory has shaped our image of the afterlife down to the present day. The work is so steeped in the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas' Summa Theologica that it has been described as the "summa in verse."

Also planned for later in 2018 are courses on Dostoevsky and Flannery O'Connor. 

Available this Spring semester:

 Course Title: The Narrative Spirituality of Dante's Divine Comedy

Course Description: Dante's Divine Comedy, published between the years 1314 and 1321, is celebrating 700 years of popularity as the world renews its interest in the relationship between faith and reason. In pursuit of that relationship, this course will study Dante's epic poetry as a great story in the scholastic tradition with Dante the pilgrim descending to the bottom of Hell, climbing to the top of Purgatory, and soaring straight to God in this cosmic thriller.

Course Professor: Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, a lay Dominican of the Queen of the Holy Rosary Chapter in the Province of St. Albert theGreat, is the author of The Narrative Spirituality of Dante's Divine Comedy (Now You Know Media, 2017) and serves as Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. He holds a doctorate in literature from Saint Louis University along with several master's degrees in the fields of comparative literature, philosophy, theology, and educational technology. 

Foundation provides scholarships for Paul VI students.

Through the generosity of the Virginia Celeste Piontek Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund, qualified students will be eligible for scholarship assistance. This fund, established in memory of Virginia Piontek,  

provides scholarship assistance to students attending the Pontifical Paul VI Institute (for Catechetical and Pastoral Studies) in St. Louis, Missouri where students grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the teachings of the church, and in their ability to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the contemporary world. 

 This new fund is featured in a recent newsletter from the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri available here. To donate to this fund go here and enter Paul VI in the search form.

Dr. John GreshamPaul VI Institute welcomes new director.  Dr. John Gresham, formerly Academic Dean at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and a long-time teacher for Paul VI assumed leadership of Paul VI on June 1, 2017. Dr. Gresham taught his first Paul VI class in 2001 and he introduced the first online classes soon thereafter. He has been a regular teacher of Paul VI classes both online and face to face ever since. Even when he moved into a full-time position at the seminary, Dr Gresham continued teaching courses for Paul VI on the side. Dr. Gresham has also been one of the presenters for the Paul VI Lay Formation Program. Dr. Gresham is a convert traveling a spiritual pilgrimage from Evangelical and Pentecostal roots through the Anglican tradition finally finding his way home to the Catholic Church in 1996. You can hear his story on the EWTN program Journey Home here. He earned an MA in Theological Studies at Wheaton College and completed his Ph.D. in Religion at Baylor University. He also has a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas and in his academic career has worked both as a librarian and a professor at such places as Sterling College, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Fontbonne University. He is the author of Jesus 101 and Holy Spirit 101 published by Liguori. John and his wife Mary Jane have 5 grown children and two living grandchildren (so far!). John and Mary Jane are resident care-takers of Vision of Peace Hermitages in Pevely MO. With 16 years experience teaching for Paul VI , Dr. Gresham knows and loves its mission and is eager to be of service to you in his new capacity as director.


PAUL VI INSTITUTE IS SUPPORTED BY THE ACA  The Annual Catholic Appeal helps to open the door of faith for Catholics across the Archdiocese and beyond.  Because of the generosity of ACA supporters, the Paul VI Institute is able to offer its courses at about half their actual cost.  Thank you!

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