An Initiative of Saint Andrew Apostle Catholic Church


Our Spring 2023 Seminar will begin on Sunday, April 23.

Are you interested in growing in your faith? Saint Andrew’s launched a Catholic lay theology program designed for those seeking to deepen their knowledge of the faith through the study of theology, God’s revelation in Scripture, and the Church magisterium. The aim is for participants to grow both intellectually and spiritually in their faith.

This program will provide a foundation of the faith at an adult level. Scripture, reason, and the teachings of the Church will all be used to build this foundation. You will grow in confidence in knowing your own faith and in being able to share the faith with others. Although the program provides a unified approach to a cohesive study of the faith, the Seminars are also designed as stand-alone offerings and participants can elect to take just one or all of the Seminars offered.

Classes are held at Saint Andrew Apostle Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, with theology professors from local Universities and Institutes. Each Seminar consists of four sessions that occur in the Fall, Winter, or Spring.

Click <HERE> for information on our Into the Deep Series

Questions? Contact


2019-2020 Seminar Offerings

Cycle 1: Foundations of the Faith

The first Cycle in the program provided its Biblical foundation. As Saint Jerome said, “Scripture is the soul of theology.”  Three Seminars were offered to provide an anchor for subsequent Cycles.


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Fall 2019 Seminar: Creation and the Old TestamentInstructor: Dr. Joseph C. Atkinson, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description: The recovery of an authentic theology of creation is the first essential key to the renewal of the Church and of society. Many of the problems we face today stem from a false understanding of the human person as an autonomous, self-determining individual. This Seminar focused on the recovery of the Biblical vision of creation and the human person. It examined the basic principles of creation and showed how they affect the human person, our relationships with each other, and with God. These four sessions helped us to discover what being in the image of God means for human relationships, especially marriage and family, and how the holiness of God is central to becoming human. It also provided an understanding the theological meaning of primordial sin and its inevitable consequences.



Session 1: Biblical Vision
Session 2. Principles of Creation
Session 3. Made in the Image
Session 4  Fractured Creation: Sin





Winter 2020 Seminar: Baptism and the New Testament

Instructor: Dr. Joseph C. Atkinson, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description: The second essential key to renewal in the Church is the recovery of the authentic meaning of Baptism.  Here we enter into the mystery of Jesus’ own life in the Incarnation and how we become a living and organic part of His life through Baptism. Saint Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” [Gal 2:20]  What can that mean practically for Christian people?  We came to understand how real the great mystery of Baptism is, how we become one with Christ on the Cross, how our old nature is put to death and rises to new life in the Lord. To have salvation means being incorporated into Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit.  In Baptism, our isolated existence is finally overcome and we become part of the organic Body of Christ, living in the Kingdom of God. 



Session 1. Proclamation of the Kingdom
Session 2. Redemption in Christ
Session 3. Coming of the Holy Spirit / Role
Session 4. Baptism in New Testament /Romans





Spring 2020 Seminar: Community in Acts: Christ and His Body

Instructor: Dr. Jonathan Bieler, Assistant Professor of Patrology and Systematic Theology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description: The last great seismic act of God in Scripture is the birth of the Church. Sin had caused us to live in isolation and in rebellion against God’s will for us and for the world.  Christ comes to brings all things under His headship in order to establish His kingdom of love (Eph 1:10).  Man’s final end is to become a full, living, active member of the Body of Christ.  We are to live together with the oneness and the communion of love that exists between the Father and the Son (Jn 17:22).  This Seminar helped us to understand what it is to make an act of faith and to live by “the faith.” It  showed how the Church is unique, as being the only place on earth where God fully reveals His will (Acts 15:28) and where all the fruits of Christ’s redemption are offered to the human race.  We saw how the early Church was led by the Holy Spirit, understood itself, and laid the foundation for all future Christian community, including our own today. 



Session 1. The Coming of the Holy Spirit: Completion of Abrahamic Covenant
Session 2. The Church in Acts
Session 3. The Act of Faith and Its Content
Session 4. Gifts and Community



2020-2021 Seminar Offerings

Cycle 2: The Reality of the Church

According to Scripture, Christ founded a visible Church that would remain on earth until His second coming. Saint Paul tells us that this Church was built on “the foundations of the apostles” (Eph 2:20). In this Cycle, we explored the origins and nature of the Church, the authority Christ gives His Church, and how the Church alone has the gift and responsibility to preserve His truth until He comes again.


Fall 2020 Seminar: Church: Its Nature and Mission

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Instructor:  Dr. Nicholas Healy, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Culture at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description:  The Scriptures clearly show that the Church plays a critical role in the process of salvation. It is not that we are saved and then might decide to join an organization called the Church.To be saved is to be a member of the Lord’s own Body which is the Catholic Church. This Seminar will explore what is the exact nature of the Church, its nature and the purpose for its existence.At the heart of the Church is the call to worship God. We will examine the nature of liturgy and its importance. At the heart of any Christian’s life are the sacraments, each of which dispenses the grace/the life of Christ given to us at Calvary. Finally, we will explore how the Church is configured to the primary roles of Jesus and how it is called to be priestly and offer sacrifice, to be prophetic and speak God’s freeing Word to a blinded world, and how to bring about the kingdom of God.

Dates: October 31, November 7, 14, 21

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: This Seminar will be offered online due to the pandemic.


Session 1. Church: Its Nature and Mission
Session 2. Liturgy and Worship
Session 3. Sacraments
Session 4. Priest, Prophet, and King



Winter 2021 Seminar: Authority in the Church

Instructor: Dr. Nicholas Healy, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Culture at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description:  To be given a mission also means being given the responsibility and authority to carry out that mission.The reality of authority has been largely rejected by the modern world. Yet the authority that Jesus gave to His apostles to forgive sins and the authority to discover the truth and proclaim it is essential in the struggle of good against evil. In this Seminar we will look at the need for authority and how it is properly exercised, including seeing what is the actual scope within which the Church must provide authoritative teaching. It will be critical to see that the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to lead His Church into the fullness of truth, which requires apostolic authority. This does not mean the Church has arbitrarily made up truths. To this end we will explore the development of Doctrine to show how the same truth lives in every generation. Finally, we will look at how authority is to be exercised in the Church, what are the proper limits and what is the responsibility of faithful Catholics to this authority.

Dates: January 23, 30, February 6, 13

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: This Seminar will be offered online due to the pandemic.

Session 1. What is Authority and How is Authority in the Church Exercised?
Session 2. The Deposit of Faith and the Development of Doctrine
Session 3. History and Theology of the Papacy
Session 4. The Communion of Saints and the Essence of True Reform




Spring 2021 Seminar: The Domestic Church

Instructor: Dr. Joseph C. Atkinson, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description:  The idea of the Christian baptized family as a Church is not intuitive. While there has been a fairly recent recovery of this term, little is understood about how the family is an actual expression of the Church. What can this even mean? In this Seminar we will discover the amazing truth that, in God’s plan, the family is meant to be a carrier of the Covenant. We will examine both the Old Testament roots and the full expression of the purpose of the family in the New Testament. Key to this mission is the role of the parents, and in particular the responsibility of the father before God for his family.This seminar looks at how various aspects of the family (the hallowing of time, ritual, teaching in the home, etc.) makes the family an icon or image of the Covenant. The last session will explore how this Biblical concept was recovered at Vatican II and its great value in re-evangelizing our current culture.

Dates: March 6, 13, 20, 27

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: This Seminar will be offered online due to the pandemic.

Session 1. Family as Carrier of the Covenant: Foundations for the Domestic Church in the Old and New Testament
Session 2. Fatherhood within the Ecclesial Home
Session 3. Family as Image of the Covenant
Session 4. Vatican II and the Domestic Church




2021-2022 Seminar Offerings

Cycle 3: Contemporary Issues

Our modern culture has rejected God’s truth in many areas of our lives. This Cycle will provide Catholic principles that will help us analyze and understand contemporary issues such as sexuality, marriage, and biotechnology.


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Fall 2021 Seminar: Theology of the Body: JPII Vision of the Human Person

Instructor: Father Antonio López, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description:This seminar is an introduction to some key themes of John Paul II’s Wednesday Catechesis on Human Love in the Divine Plan: The Redemption of the Body and the Sacramentality of Marriage. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body offers a magnificent account of what it means to be a human being as an embodied, sexually differentiated person called to participate in God’s Triune love that Christ revealed through the gift of himself without remainder. Revealing God’s love, Christ confirms and brings to an unforeseeable fulfillment man’s constitutive human experiences of solitude and communion. He also enables man, male and female, to realize the nuptial meaning of the body.

Dates: October 30, November 6, 13, 20

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: Rectory Conference Room and online option due to the pandemic.

Session 1. Original Solitude: Man as Partner of the Absolute
Session 2. Original Unity and Nakedness: Entrusted to Each Other
Session 3. Hermeneutics of Gift: The Texture of What Is
Session 4. The Nuptial Meaning of the Body: Virginity and Marriage




Winter 2022 Seminar: Sex, Law and Gender: A Catholic Response to Secular Confusion

Instructor: Dr. David Crawford, Dean and Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Family Law, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description:This seminar will provide a theological framework by which to understand and respond to the modern claims that a person’s biological sex and personal identity have no necessary connection and could, in fact, contradict each other. In this view, human identity it is self-defined and becomes the choice of the individual. This Seminar will explore the difference between natural and positive law and how laws inevitably teach values. It will review attacks against traditional marriage and their impact on society’s understanding of morality. It will examine the movement to normalize transgender issues and the use/misuse of religious liberty to defend against sexual orientation and gender identity.

Dates: January 29 (double session), February 5, 12

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: Rectory Conference Room and online option due to the pandemic.

Session 1. What Does Law Have to Do with Sex?
Session 2. Does the Catholic Understanding of Marriage Make Sense?
Session 3. Are There Really Men and Women in the World?
Session 4. Sexuality and Religious Liberty



Spring 2022 Seminar: Biotechnology and Ethics: What Does the Church Teach?

Instructor: Dr. Lesley Rice, Assistant Professor of Bioethics, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C. (Biosketch is <HERE>)

Course Description: Modern science, technology, and medicine promise relief from many forms of suffering, but they also pose new questions and introduce problems and decisions that require a well-formed conscience. This course will discuss several bioethical issues, including reproductive technologies, medical research, assisted nutrition and hydration, and hospice/palliative care, in view of the teachings of the Catholic Church. In order to understand whether a technology or treatment is good, we must ask “good for what?” and “good for whom?” And thus we need to deepen our understanding of the human person and his purpose. The Second Vatican Council has shown us the path to this deeper understanding of ourselves: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes 22). This course seeks to help Christians bring the light of Christ’s revelation to bear on their medical decision-making.

Dates: February 26, March 5, 12, 19

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: Rectory Conference Room


Session 1. The Christian Meaning of Suffering
Session 2. Reproductive Technologies
Session 3. Biology and Biotechnologies
Session 4. End of Life Issues



2022-2023 Seminar Offerings

Cycle 4:  Sharing the Faith

How do we bring the Good News of Jesus to others? In this fourth Cycle, we journey through what is meant by the call to conversion, healing and growth, and new life with Christ and His Church and we share this faith with others.

Fall 2022 Seminar: How Do We Share the Faith?


October 15: Father Larry Swink, Pastor at St. Peter Claver and St. Cecilia’s Churches

October 22: Dr. Joe Atkinson, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, John Paul II Institute

October 29: Dr. David Spesia, Executive Director of Evangelization and Catechesis, USCCB

November 5:  Father John Nahrgang, Vicar for Evangelization and Education, Diocese of Phoenix

Course Description: How do we Catholics share our faith so others can experience salvation in Jesus, the Lord?  This is at the heart of our 2022-2023 program at the Institute of Theology.  This Fall we will explore together what is evangelization, how the early Church helped others to encounter Christ, and what are the Scriptural principles for sharing this faith. We will look what is the role of the local parish in bringing others to faith and discover what is meant by the “joy of the Gospel.”

Dates: Saturdays October 15, 22, 29, and November 5

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Place: Multipurpose Room

Session 1. Faith, Community, and the Good News: Acts 2:42

Session 2. Sharing the “Good News”: Scriptural Principles

Session 3. The Joy of the Gospel: Sharing the Faith

Session 4. A Larger Vision for Evangelization




Winter 2023 Seminar: Knowing Christ


January 25: Father Rob Walsh, Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

February 1: Father Blake Evans, Saint Andrew Apostle Catholic Church

February 8: Father Shaun Foggo, Pastor, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish

February 15: Father Tommaso Badiani, Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo

Course Description: In the Winter session, the focus will be on how we can encounter Christ more deeply in our lives and His healing which, in turn, enables us to be effective communicators of the Gospel.

Dates: Wednesdays January 25, February 1, 8, 15

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Place: Church


Session 1. Encounter with Christ
Session 2. Conversion
Session 3. Process of Sanctification
Session 4. Our Own Vulnerability and Transparency


Spring 2023 Seminar: Making Christ Known


April 23: Father Emilio Biosca, OFM Cap, Pastor, Shrine of the Sacred Heart

May 1: Steve and Desi Balla, Parishioners, Saint Andrew Apostle

May 7: Sister Diedre Byrne, Little Workers of the Sacred Heart

May 14: Father Greg Shaffer, Pastor, Our Lady of the Visitation

Course Description: Finally, in the Spring we will have varied speakers who are engaged in bringing others to Christ and His Church who will show us how evangelism works in the concrete situations of our lives.

Dates: Sundays April 23, May 7, 14 and Monday, May 1

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Place: Multipurpose Room


Session 1. Engaging the Parish
Session 2. Engaging the Family
Session 3. Engaging the Community
Session 4. Rooted in the Eucharist






Those wishing to complete the optional Saint Andrew’s Institute of Theology Certificate of Completion must complete a minimum of two Seminars in each of the four Cycles.



Trifold Brochure Cycle 1

Trifold Brochure Cycle 2

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