Light the World! is a chance for high school students to investigate, research, and learn how faith and culture interact with everyday activities. Each day we witness how this is achieved at a locale in D.C. Students witness faithful excellence in action in business, science, politics, sports, and the arts. Visiting places such as the Capitol, National Gallery of Art, and D.C.'s professional baseball stadium and hearing from people who have achieved success in those realms talk about how faith intersects with those activities.

Secondary, 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.


Each day of Light the World! has a different focus, or theme. Participants explore the connection between their Catholic faith and the world around them with the added benefit of discernment guide for their future course of study, college decisions, and hopeful career options. The structure of each day starts with daily Mass and breakfast and then gives participants time to read theological text and prepare for the daily theme. Then, engaging guest speakers and experts in the field present on the connection between faith and culture, particularly their course of study. After lunch and small group discussions, participants take busses or public transportation to a different location around DC to witness faithful excellence in action.

Faith and Science

The Institute begins with the relationship between faith and scientific inquiry while hearing from a theologians perspective on how faith and science are not at all in conflict. The afternoon is then spent at the Natural History Museum with presentations from brilliant scientists on how their discoveries have drawn them closer to God.

Faith and Art

Participants are exposed to the connection of faith with various art forms be that painting, sculpture, writing, poetry, photography, social media, etc. Speakers, conversation, and excursions lead to the exploration of beauty and goodness coming from God the Creator, the distortion of beauty in our culture, and how to craft their own lives into works of art. Light the World! hears from a professor of Theology and are lead on a tour of the National Gallery of Art by various art historians.

Faith and Sports

Light the World! demonstrates that sports and leisure have primary roles in creating wholistic people of faith. Participants view the Faith and Sports day as a highlight of the week as they hear from a Catholic professional athlete and get to enjoy a night off at a Professional Baseball Game.

Faith and Business

Faithful businessmen and women can take many shapes and forms. Light the World! hears from professionals who can speak to living their faith in the corporate climate. Our Faith and Business speakers range from entrepreneurs to lawyers and share on topics from ethical business models to coffee break room evangelization. Our afternoon excursion is lead by one of these models of Business and Catholic Social Teaching through Washington, D.C.

Faith and Politics

In order to immerse Light the World! participants in the connection of faith and politics, academics from the School of Theology and Religious Studies lead a discussion on faithful citizenship. In the afternoon, we hear from a former Congressman and his staff leads a behind-the-scenes tour of the US Capitol building. 

Faith and Service

No matter the major or career course Light the World! young people discern, we believe that service must play a vital role. Light the World! spends a morning in service to the Washington, D.C. community at various locations to deliver food to the homeless and hungry. Catholic Social Teaching is stressed and pondered when young people are asked to question how they give of their time, talent, and treasure.

Lived Faith

While we don’t have a day set for lived faith, it is important for us that our participants have time to explore their relationship with Christ, their relationships with others, and the Joy of the Gospel lived out in their lives. Throughout the week, our participants learn the importance of living their faith from their peers, our student counselors, and our presenters.