first_imgUP to 30 American theology students will visit Donegal this summer to study our county’s ancient Christian roots.Christendom College, a Catholic institution in Virginia, says the trip will offer students a deeper understanding of Western Christianity and the role of Ireland in particular.College president and institute director Dr. Timothy O’Donnell said that “the idea was to bring American and Irish students together, basically to study, to pray, and to have a great time together.” He noted that the Church in both countries has faced difficulties in recent years.The St. Columcille Institute will be a three-week programme at Ards Friary.The academic core of the institute will feature classes in theology, history and literature, exploring Western Christian civilization in order to re-invigorate the faith of young students.“We want this to be part of the New Evangelization,” said O’Donnell, adding that the academic program aims to represent Church teachings with “enthusiasm” and “intensity.” One of the cornerstones of the program will be an apologetics course taught by O’Donnell that will “meet kids where they’re at.”The course will help students learn the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, as well as how to handle many common intellectual and personal challenges to the Church’s teachings.Students will also engage in a course on the spread of Christianity in Europe, with an emphasis on the role of Irish Catholics. Of particular emphasis will be the namesake of the institute, St. Columcille  who helped spread the faith to much of the British Isles and some of mainland Europe during the 500s.O’Donnell noted that this time period was also a “New Evangelization,” in that Christianity inspired the peoples of Europe, and he voiced hope that the study of this important moment in history would enrich both Irish and American students.Finally, Christendom will bring one of its classes on short stories to Ireland, hoping to “raise questions about faith, about life.” The class will place an emphasis on Irish authors, among the other great works and stories discussed in the seminar. O’Donnell also mentioned that the institute will offer an opportunity to bring “American and Irish students together” to enhance one another’s faith through shared experience and learning from one another’s perspectives.Students will also be encouraged to learn some Irish here.Mr O’Donnell has told students that Donegal is “strikingly beautiful,” close to the sea and surrounded by greenery.“You feel very close to God,” said O’Donnell, “and it’s very easy to pray there.” Already, the program has “been very very popular,” O’Donnell explained, and more than 25 students have signed up since the program was announced just two weeks ago.The group will arrive in Donegal on July 19th and stay until August 11th.AMERICAN THEOLOGY STUDENTS SET FOR DONEGAL PILGRIMAGE was last modified: April 7th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:AMERICAN THEOLOGY STUDENTS SET FOR DONEGAL PLIGRIMAGElast_img read more

Teed Off!

first_imgIf recent history is any guide, the populist Tea Party, which is consuming all the oxygen this election cycle, will peter out over the next couple of years after seeing a temporary resurgence in the run up to the 2012 presidential primaries.Its trajectory could well track the meteoric rise and burnout of another recent third party. In the 1992 presidential elections, Ross Perot ignited similar grassroots fervor with his organization United We Stand, winning nearly 19 percent of the popular vote, the second highest ever for a third party candidate. But four years later when Perot ran again as a candidate of his newly formed Reform Party, he eked out just 8 percent of the vote. Unlike the present day Tea Party, Perot had the advantage of being able to use his enormous personal wealth to bankroll the Reform Party, but even so it devolved into competing factions and irrelevancy. In the 2008 elections, its presidential and vice presidential nominees Ted Weill and Frank McEnulty (remember them?) only qualified for the ballot in Mississippi, where they garnered just 481 votes.The Tea Party is different, because at least in this election cycle when the presidency is not on the line, its focus has been local and statewide, where it has been successful in knocking off some establishment Republican heavyweights in the primaries. Historically, third party candidates have been more successful in local or statewide races than at the national. Since Reconstruction, 31 U.S. Senators, 111 Representatives, and 22 Governors have been elected on third party tickets or as Independents. Indeed, two sitting U.S. Senators, Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, ran successfully as independents. At least some of the Tea Party candidates, all running on the Republican ticket, will prevail in the upcoming elections. However, these Tea Party Republicans will be quickly co-opted by their party, much as the “Contract With America” Republican revolutionaries of 1994 were. Indeed, to some degree, even the Tea Party has been hijacked by Republican Party operatives, such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and the right wing talk show provocateurs Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. If the Tea Party can find a way to extricate itself from these partisan ideologues —to whom they are beholden for their public ascendancy — it has the potential to be an enduring salutary force on the American political system. The Tea Party’s broad criticism that career politicians, lobbyists and Wall Street have smothered the U.S. political system is on the mark. Even in the face of a global economic meltdown they precipitated, both political parties as well as Pres. Barack Obama remain prisoners of and beholden to these same financiers, technocrats, lawyers and back-scratching professionals, often from a handful of elite colleges. The Tea Party, whose message is viscerally simple and shockingly drawn from first principles, has succeeded in piercing through the veneer of convoluted logic and complexity that has paralyzed governing and stunted public policy for decades.Magic markers and cardboard signs have a shot against spreadsheets and slick Powerpoint presentations again.   Related Itemslast_img read more