“Rome!” The pilgrims took up the cry and repeated, “Roma, Roma!” Then I knew that I was not in a dream, but truly I was in Rome.
-St. Therese of Lisieux
Catholic liberal arts education is the study of God and man, and of God made man. Students are called to learn from and love the works of man—especially those made for the glory of God. It is fitting then that Thomas More College students should spend a whole academic term in one of the world’s great cities—the site of the empire that shaped Western history, and the seat of the universal Church.
In their Rome semester, Thomas More College sophomores traverse catacombs and cloisters, piazzas and palazzos, exploring the heart of the Christian West. The history of Christendom is written in the stones and on the ceilings, in the streets and the cemeteries, and the skyline is dominated not by skyscrapers but by the dome of St. Peter’s.
Through most of Rome, every 500 yards or so there stands an exquisite chapel or church—one perhaps designed by Bernini, or Borromini, ornamented with art that ranges from ancient mosaics to high Baroque altarpieces, from Renaissance frescos to affectionate memorials of Padre Pio, festooned with plastic flowers. Each day, Rome program director Prof. Paul Connell leads the student body on explorations that are focused on theology, art, and architecture.
The Roman semester immerses students in the details of ancient, medieval and Renaissance art, and the history and teachings of the Church. Students also explore Renaissance churches in Florence and Orvieto, visiting the cave of St. Benedict in Subiaco, the eerie Etruscan tombs at Cerveteri, and the city of St. Francis, Assisi.
Many venture outside the classroom, gallery, and basilica to engage in the one of the Church’s most critical apostolates—communications. In Rome, Thomas More sophomores are invited to take part in internships, such as that offered by the College’s Vatican Studies Center with the Internet-based Catholic media agency, H2o News. Thomas More College students help create TV broadcasts about Church news that are sent around the world—editing, correcting translations, and dubbing the voices of newsmakers, cardinals, and even Pope Benedict XVI. Others take advantage of Vatican Studies events to meet with the staff of L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica
In the Fall semester, students are often able to attend canonizations and Advent celebrations at St. Peter’s Basilica, and venerate the relics of the crib of Our Lord in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
In the Spring semester, students attend Holy Week liturgies at St. Peter’s Basilica—including the Chrism Mass, the Good Friday liturgy, and the Holy Saturday Vigil Mass. An ancient tradition in Rome includes attending station masses with the Holy Father at traditional sites throughout the city as well as Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum and Ash Wednesday Mass on the Aventine Hill.
These experiences and others help the students to develop a deep and personal love for the traditions of the Church and an attachment to the office and the person of the pope.
The Rome semester is offered in both the spring and fall semesters, and all full-time sophomores participate. Because this program is a unique and integral part of the whole education at Thomas More College, it is normally only open to students enrolled full-time. However, in unique circumstances, exceptions may be made if students exhibit a particular interest in the Rome Program, and can demonstrate how it will enhance their own course of study. Please contact the Director of Admission at 800-880-8308 or admissions@ThomasMoreCollege.edu.
Course schedules and class assignments are consistent with the policies of the Merrimack campus. Professors from the home campus frequently travel to Rome to teach significant sections of the curriculum, ensuring the continuity of the education in Merrimack with the education in Rome. In addition, students take a special course in the art and architecture of Rome—conducted in the churches, museums, and historic sites of the city. View course descriptions >>
Among some of the most unique aspects of the Rome semester includes our internships with international news agencies. While studying at the heart of the Church, students are also eligible to work in her ranks and gain access to important figures in the Church today. Through the Vatican Studies Center, students intern with international media outlets including H2O News. Many of our students have also had the opportunity to write articles and conduct interviews with Zenit News, spreading the message of the Chuch throughout the world.
Room and board is the same price as the Merrimack campus. Only transportation costs, airport transfers, and museum admissions are extra. Round-trip airfare from Boston or New York to Rome is generally available at around $700; student discounts are widely available.