Light the World! Summer Institute has welcomed high school age participants to the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. to explore the interaction of faith, culture, and the vocation of youth since 2016. We’ve welcomed over 220 youth to our campus in person and, in 2020 and 2021, welcomed over 40 to join us for virtual programs. 

Hosted by the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, and funded in part by the Lilly Endowment, Light the World! Summer Institute seeks to engage our participants in opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth, in opportunities for discernment to hear God’s call for them in the future, and to help them grow in community with other young people who are passionate about their faith.

Secondarily, this is an opportunity for students to experience a taste of college life while still in high school. Students live in a dorm for the week, eat at the dining hall, live with their peers, and get a taste of the intellectual, social, and spiritual life that a university like Catholic University offers. Part of the follow-up even involves help with college application essays even if it is not our university. The summer institute will be facilitated by CUA’s own college students who are faith-filled students in all areas discussed above.


Light the World! takes place at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Students live in dorms, eat in dining halls, learn in classrooms, pray in sacred spaces, and have fun with one another around campus. They live college life for a week. They also visit a different impressive site in Washington, D.C. each day.


Week 1: June 12-18, 2022

Week 2: June 26-July 2, 2022


Light the World! was founded (with the support of Lilly Endowment Inc.) to help young students better understand how faith and theology relate to their everyday lives. It will help them think about where they are being called. We also hope students will be invigorated by a taste of college life that is enriching, challenging, and joy-filled.


Students will spend portions of the day in the large group for presentations as well as in their small groups of 7 or so, each led by two Catholic University college students who are themselves models of faithful excellence in action. Though students learn from experts, they also learn from and support one another in small group discussions and activities.