The Newman Forum for High School Students
A Project of the Lumen Christi Institute
The median age for disaffiliation among young Catholics is 13, and 75% of former Catholics report leaving during their teenage years. For every one Catholic who enters the Church, six leave. When asked why they left, intellectual questions are among their top reasons: How can we know there is a God? Why does evil exist? Are science and religion opposed to one another? How is the historic Church related to today’s Church?
Catholic colleges and universities may be able to answer these questions, but 90% of Catholic students attend non-Catholic colleges and universities (and they’ve already disaffiliated years before!) The Church’s intellectual tradition is a vast treasure house (cf. Matthew 13:51-53). The intellectual formation of teenagers should not be left to the secular world.
The life of a Christian is a journey from faith to wisdom, where faith is not left behind but perfected (cf. St. John Henry Newman’s Oxford University Sermons). The mission of the Newman Forum is to prepare high school students for this journey by giving them a Catholic vision of intellectual life, culture, and liturgy.
Through a mixture of large and small events, both online and in-person, the Newman Forum grounds teenagers from Chicagoland and beyond in the Church’s venerable tradition of integrated intellectual and spiritual life. It alerts them to seek out this tradition in college, helps them repudiate false secular narratives about the incompatibility of faith and reason or science, prepares a new generation of leaders, and encourages teenagers to pursue the meaning of leading a good life.
Our Patron & Namesake
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was an English scholar and priest who converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism and went on to become a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. A student of Oxford, Newman was committed to rigorous intellectual pursuit imbued with rich spiritual practice. One of his many works, The Idea of the University, paints a vivid image of the university as a powerful place of free and responsible inquiry. Newman’s scholarship continues to characterize the vision of higher education the Newman Forum passes on to high school students. Cardinal Newman was canonized a Saint on October 13, 2019.
Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us!
Austin Walker, Director — firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about the Lumen Christi team by CLICKING HERE