The Inaugural Event of the Institute for Faith & Public Culture Will Be on January 23, 2022

The Institute’s Mission

The Institute for Faith & Public Culture’s mission and purpose is to give our community the opportunity to reflect philosophically and theologically on the ways in which the Catholic Faith is integral to our understanding of the family, arts and letters, the law, as well as our social and political order — helping the Basilica of Saint Mary become an even greater beacon of life and light in Alexandria, Virginia.

Our First Event 

The Institute’s inaugural event will be a lecture entitled “Sacred Fire: How the Church’s Faith Became Integral to the Ancient City, and Can Become So Again!” by Dr. Chad Pecknold on Sunday, January 23, 2022 at the Basilica’s Lyceum Auditorium (313 Duke Street). A reception will be held after the 5 p.m. Mass that evening, from 6-6:30 p.m., followed by Professor Pecknold’s lecture at 6:30 p.m. Please click here to find out more about this event. 

Our Call 

Our Catholic Faith is not something private. Not only are we called to publicly proclaim the Gospel, but the Church’s worship generates a very public way of life. Images of ancient basilicas and medieval cathedrals, Eucharistic and Marian processions, as well as feast days that bring joy and celebration, also call to mind the way in which the Church has always been integral to the life of the city. This is our calling too.

Our Resident Theologian

Dr. Pecknold is Associate Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America, a Fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology, and a Board Director for Americans United for Life. Professor Pecknold has spent his career writing and teaching on the importance of Saint Augustine for understanding Western civilization, and from 2022-2024 he will serve as the Basilica of Saint Mary’s theologian-in-residence, directing the academic program of the Institute for Faith & Public Culture.

Listen to a podcast featuring Dr. Pecknold as he talks about his faith journey, how the idea for the institute was born, what kind of impact he hopes the institute will have and several upcoming events:

Future Events 

Dr. Pecknold will also lead “A Lenten Journey Through Saint Augustine’s Confessions,” a five-week series designed as a guided book club and a penitential discipline during Lent, starting on  March 9, 2022. It will take place at the Basilica Lyceum Auditorium, from 6-7:30 p.m., for five consecutive Wednesdays, until April 6. There will be a registration fee of $25. Please click here to register and pay. 

Throughout the year we will also be inviting premier speakers to educate our community by shining the Light of Christ on a range of timely social and political topics. The new Institute will not only feed the mind, but also the heart, holding concerts and performances that reflect the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of our Catholic Faith. Events will be held at the Basilica of Saint Mary (310 S. Royal Street) and the Basilica’s Lyceum Auditorium.

Our Patron

We take as our patron Saint Thomas More, the great social philosopher, jurist, statesman, man of letters, father, husband and martyr. The intercession and patronage of this great saint is especially fitting for this apostolate of the Basilica of Saint Mary, not only because we have a magnificent side chapel in memory of his glorious martyrdom, but also because he is patron of the Diocese of Arlington and patron of all those who take up public service and the common good of this country.

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