Raven Theologians Taking Groups Around the Globe
A group of theology professors from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, all three of whom have written for the Gregorian, is set to head out into the world, sharing their knowledge of scripture as well as the history of the sites they will visit.
Benedictine College, in association with World Bound Learning Projects, LLC, is organizing three distinct trips for the summer of 2020, one for alumni and friends of the college, one for current Benedictine students, and one for high school students.
Dr. Ramage – Faith & Beauty in Italy
Dr. Matthew Ramage, Associate Professor of Theology at Benedictine, will lead the Faith & Beauty in Italy tour designed for alumni and friends of the college. This is the inaugural trip in the college’s new Raven Discovery Travel program. For parents of current students, it will give an idea of what their children will experience during Benedictine’s study abroad program in Florence. This tour, set for June 15-24, 2020, will trace the footsteps of St. Benedict through the churches, monasteries and other sites associated with him.
“Italy is particularly dear to my heart, and I have a passion for opening up its incredible treasures of beauty, history and faith to everyone able to explore them with me,” said Ramage.
In addition to learning about Benedictine history, participants will also explore the wonders of ancient Rome and the beauty of Florence. Ramage will offer insights into the art, history, faith and culture of the various tour stops and he is uniquely suited to do so. He studied in Italy and taught a semester at Benedictine’s Florence campus, in addition to being an experienced tour guide with trips to Greece, India, Israel and Turkey to his credit. Ramage is also the author of several books, including Dark Passages of the Bible and Jesus, Interpreted.
He has been interviewed by news outlets such as the National Catholic Register and First Things magazine and has made periodic appearances on the EWTN programs Catholic Answers Live, Catholicism on Campus, and The Son Rise Morning Show.
“Over the past decade-plus, many of my most cherished moments of teaching at Benedictine College have been the experiences I’ve shared with our wonderful students in other lands,” Ramage said. “I am honored to have a role in kicking off our inaugural Raven Discovery Travel program and to be able to invite the broader Benedictine community to share a transformative experience whose memories will last a lifetime.”
Dr. Blosser – Journey with Dante
Dr. Benjamin (Jaimie) Blosser, Professor of Theology at Benedictine, will also lead a trip to Italy, Journey with Dante. The three-week tour, set for June 26 – July 16, 2020, is designed to provide rising high school juniors, seniors, and graduating seniors the opportunity to earn college credit while learning about another world culture and studying great literature.
“I am tremendously excited about this trip because it combines two of my passions: the country of Italy and the writings of Dante,” Blosser said. “I have been reading and studying Dante for much of my adult life, and my family lived in Florence for a semester while I was teaching abroad. Both were deeply enriching experiences. I will be bringing my two high school-age sons with me, and I look forward to getting to know the other students.”
The trip traces the life of Dante Alighieri and emphasizes his Divine Comedy. Blosser focused on Dante’s time period in one of his books, Positively Medieval: The Surprising, Dynamic, Heroic Church of the Middle Ages. Blosser received his Ph.D. in Historical Theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His main interest is in the study of the lives, writings and doctrines of the early Christian theologians and he currently teaches courses in church history, ecclesiology and New Testament at Benedictine. He was named Benedictine College’s Distinguished Educator of the Year in April 2019.
Dr. Zia – Biblical Theology in the Holy Land
Dr. Mark Zia, Professor of Theology and Director for Academic Enrichment Programs at Benedictine, will offer his knowledge of the Holy Land during a trip designed for undergraduate students, but available to alumni and other interested adults as well. The two-week trip, set for May 31-June 14, 2020, accounts for a 3-hour college credit course for the students and will make stops in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, and many other places familiar from scripture.
“The Holy Land has been called the “fifth Gospel” because of the unique way in which it contributes to a greater understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ by offering a ‘theology of geography,’” Zia said. “On this pilgrimage we shall retrace the steps of Jesus Christ while daily engaging ourselves in biblical theology so that the Gospels truly come alive.”
Zia earned his doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He taught at Ave Maria University and Franciscan University before coming to Benedictine College in 2005. He regularly teaches classes in biblical theology, including courses on the Pentateuch, Synoptic Gospels, Gospel of John, and Biblical Hermeneutics. In addition to his post at Benedictine, he is also an adjunct professor for the Bishop Helmsing Institute of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and is engaged in the instruction of candidates for the permanent deaconate.
“My hope is that all those who take part will not simply know about Christ, but will come to know Christ and experience the relevance of his life, teachings, and ministry for themselves, their communities, and the world in which we live,” Zia concluded.
Early Bird Discounts
Registration for all three trips is now open and early-bird discounts are available for Raven Discovery Travel’s Faith & Beauty in Italy (on registrations made by Nov. 1, 2019) and Journey with Dante (on registrations made by Dec. 1, 2019). Learn more about each trip and access the registration materials on the Benedictine website at http://www.benedictine.edu/.
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