Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Princeton's Catholic Community

All about the Aquinas Institute

To say that Princeton has a plethora of extracurricular groups is an understatement. Here at Princeton, there are student groups that center around almost any imaginable activity, academic interest or hobby, and I would encourage all prospective and incoming students to explore the wide array of opportunities! I personally love the campus community that I have gained through participation in the events at the Aquinas Institute, the Catholic organization on Princeton’s campus, and I wanted to write a bit about my experience with the group in this blog.

To begin, the mission of the Aquinas Institute is to offer a space for Catholic students to invest in four principles of our faith: prayer, practice, principles and perspective. I actually have only become significantly involved in the group this year, and my only regret is that I did not attend more programs sooner!

Sunday masses are held at 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the University Chapel, and there is also a daily mass at noon, which is a great way to spend time in prayer in the middle of the school day.

Beyond the Aquinas House, there are also daily Catholic events that take place in the beautiful University chapel.

Beyond the Aquinas House, there are also daily Catholic events that take place in the beautiful University chapel.

Beyond the University Chapel, the Aquinas Institute has an amazing center just adjacent to Princeton’s campus where most of the group activities are held. It’s a great space to attend events because it has several kitchens, living rooms and meeting spaces, and it even has a brand new movie theater in the basement (and I hear a pool on the roof!).

The Aquinas Institute offers an array of programs that are always open to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, including retreats, Bible studies, fellowship groups, service projects and more. This semester, I have been to the Bible study, which is offered on Monday evenings from 7:30 - 9 p.m. Led by our campus priest, Father Gabe Zeis, we are chronologically examining one book of the Bible each week in order to explore overall Biblical themes. There are usually about 15 students each week in this particular group, and it has been really fun – plus I’ve learned a lot! Another opportunity to develop my faith has been the consecration class. A worldwide program recommended by Pope John Paul II, the class is led by a few of my Catholic peers at Princeton on Thursdays from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., and it has been one of the highlights of my semester so far.

Outside of attending events together at Aquinas, a few of my Catholic friends and I try to meet up weekly to have some fun. Here is a photo from our 5K this September!

Outside of attending events together at Aquinas, a few of my Catholic friends and I try to meet up weekly to have some fun. Here is a photo from our 5K this September!

In sum, I hope that this gives you a glimpse of the robust religious programming offered on campus. For me, I’ve found that it has been equally important for me to invest in developing my faith at Princeton as much as my studies, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so! For interested students of other faiths, you can check out a list of other religious groups that exist at Princeton here. Additionally, the Office of Religious Life is committed to making sure that students of all faiths are able to host events and programs that enrich their religious and spiritual experiences at Princeton.