DENVER — On Sept. 13, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver opened a new chapter in the history of the Augustine Institute by blessing and dedicating a new campus for the Catholic graduate school that focuses on the New Evangelization.
Since its founding, the university has been a member of the Register’s annual Catholic Identity College Guide.
Augustine Institute president and sacred Scripture professor Timothy Gray said members of the institute think of the new building as “Augustine Institute 2.0.”
“It’s a new beginning for the Augustine Institute,” he said.
Gray said the fiber-optic connection in the new building will allow for Internet streaming of classes, question-and-answer sessions and training for youth ministry.
“This gives us an incredible platform for video, radio and education, so we can reach the world,” he said. “This gives us a platform to reach the world for Christ.”
The Augustine Institute was founded in 2005 to provide graduate studies in theology. It has 60 students on campus. More than 200 students from 35 U.S. states, Canada and Australia are enrolled in its distance-education program.
The institute’s new campus, located in the Denver Tech Center, houses a larger chapel, a video-production studio and the Tolle Lege Coffee Bar.
The coffee bar takes its name from a passage in St. Augustine’s Confessions in which the great thinker and theologian recounted a distraught time in his youth when he heard children sing in Latin the phrase “Take up and read.” Their words inspired him to read the Bible and turn from his pagan life.
Archbishop Aquila said that the archdiocese is “truly blessed” to have the Augustine Institute, which he described as “part of the New Evangelization.”
He said the institute is “a way to join the intellect and the heart and to help not only the minds of these young people grow to understand the teaching of the Church, but, more importantly, to let their hearts grow to truly fall in love with the Lord and to come to know him as the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Gray said the school drew inspiration from Pope John Paul II’s 1993 visit to Denver.
“He wanted to show that the Gospel belongs in the modern, high-tech, secular world,” Gray asserted. “Now, here’s the Augustine Institute, answering his summons for an evangelization. And where are we? God provides for us to be right in the heart of the Tech Center.”
The institute aims to form students in a Catholic worldview that is “deeply biblical,” but also engages with “postmodernism and secular culture.”
Archbishop Aquila praised the institute’s work in catechetics and Scripture, as well as its New Evangelization programs.
The archbishop said he was impressed with a young man from his former Diocese of Fargo, N.D., who studied at the institute. The young man’s heart is “truly on fire for the Lord,” and he has used his studies to deepen his faith and the faith of others.
“He’s only one example of the many that I know who have gone on to become directors of religious education, principals or teachers in different schools.”
Gray credited God with the success of the Augustine Institute, which was previously at the campus of Denver’s Teikyo Loretto Heights University.
“Every step of the way, in our young seven-year history, God has intervened and blessed us,” he said. “God wants this New Evangelization to happen.”