– This spring, about 35 Florida Institute of Technology students are learning about the origins of the Catholic Church and about the luminaries who have
peopled it. The Catholic theology introduction class, never before taught at the university, has another novel aspect. While students accumulate course
credits and a passing grade, they are also earning a $1,000 scholarship for a 2006 spring pilgrimage to Rome.
The humanities course, “Special Topics in the History of the Catholic Church: Thought, Theology and Tradition,” is taught by Fr. Douglas Bailey S.D.S.,
Ph.D. Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at the Melbourne university, Bailey also is a faculty member.
About a year ago, he earned a $25,000 grant from an anonymous donor to help send these students on the May 9-19 trip.
“I’m not sure how many students will end up going, but we already have about 18 signed up,” said Bailey. “We believe that the class and pilgrimage will
offer excellent academic and catechetical experiences to our students and that the scholarship will make the difference in making it happen for some.”
The curriculum includes a stay at the Villa Maria, the mother house of the Salvatorian sisters in Rome, an audience with the Pope and Mass in the
Catacombs, beneath the city. A retreat outside Rome, at Assisi, the home city of St. Francis, is also planned.
“Our objective is to bolster Catholic students’ commitment to their religion,” said Bailey.