Participants in the inaugural ACU School Leavers Program in Rome with Bishop Richard Umbers.

Participants in the inaugural Australian Catholic University (ACU) School Leavers Program arrived at the ACU Rome Campus this week to begin a three-week study on the history of Western Civilisation in Rome and London.

The groups’ arrival at the Rome Campus was marked by an opening Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop for Sydney Bishop Richard Umbers, along with ACU Rome Campus Chaplain Fr Anthony Expo.

ACU and Sydney Catholic Schools have collaborated to send the group of 21 high-achieving school leavers on an immersion experience exploring the foundations of Western Civilisation, first in London and then Rome.

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Students were selected based on their academic excellence and their potential for leadership and community service in the Church and wider community. All of the students were nominees for the Archbishop’s Awards for Excellence.

During their time in the UK the students will visit many of the pivotal places in the history of Western Civilisation including Oxford University and London’s Houses of Parliament.

While in Rome the group will visit famous historical and cultural sites such as the Roman Forum, the Catacombs and the Vatican, between daily reading sessions and lectures on the people, institutions and events that have shaped the Western Civilisation since the time of Ancient Greece.

ACU Vice President Father Anthony Casamento csma said that ACU is delighted to be partnering with Sydney Catholic Schools to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to students.

“Our mission as a Catholic university is to engage in the Catholic intellectual tradition, where faith and reason are in dialogue – and this program gives students the opportunity to do just that while being in the unique classrooms of the cities of Rome and London,” he said.

“It was also important for the School Leavers Program to allow the students the possibility to enter into the opportunities that living and learning in another city and culture has to offer.”

“The University’s hope is that by understanding how powerfully Christianity, politics and culture have shaped both the Western world and today’s diverse, complex, and secular society, this learning experience will inform the development of leadership and service in the next generation of Catholic leaders in our country,” he said.

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