Canisius Hosts "Be the Light Youth Theology Institute"

April 27, 2016


Buffalo, NY – High school students entering their junior and senior years are invited to take up residence at Canisius College, from July 5 – 10, for the inaugural Be the Light Youth Theology Institute. The six-day experience is for students interested in deepening their understanding of faith, theology, and justice, and becoming servant-scholar-leaders in their communities.

During the week-long residential experience, participants will explore topics in Catholic theology and philosophy, Jesuit spirituality and values, and the ways these inform responses to issues of justice relevant in the Buffalo area. Canisius clergy and professors will be among those who will provide academic instruction for each day. Participants will also engage in service-immersion experiences throughout the city, and have opportunities for individual, communal, and sacramental reflection and prayer alongside Canisius’ undergraduate student leaders.

The Be the Light Youth Theology Institute was established at Canisius in December 2015, after the college received a $583,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment. The award coincides with a larger youth theology initiative supported by the Lilly Endowment, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to live lives of service.

“Our unique approach for the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute will introduce high school students to what the Jesuits call ‘a faith that does justice,’ namely, Catholic philosophy and theology, viewed through the lenses of Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy,” said Canisius President John J. Hurley in announcing the establishment of the institute.

“At Canisius, we are ideally situated to help students understand how issues of justice are truly present in an urban setting like Buffalo, and how faith and reason can form their responses to these issues,” added Stephen Chanderbhan, PhD, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the institute.

The cost for the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute is $300 and includes food, housing and transportation throughout the week. A limited number of scholarships is also available. Students of any faith tradition or those of no faith tradition are welcome to apply, however space is limited to 25 participants.

For more information or to apply to the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute, visit You may also contact either Stephen Chanderbhan, at 888-2223, or Sarah Signorino, assistant director of the institute, at 888-2424.

One of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.