The Newman Forum for High School Students

Introducing and familiarizing high school students to the Catholic intellectual tradition since February 2019 through robust online and in-person programming, integrating the spiritual and the academic. 


CLICK HERE to apply to our 2021 Summer Institutetaking place in-person at Mundelein Seminary July 8-11!

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Our Program

The Lumen Christi Institute, in partnership with Mundelein Seminary and the Archdiocese of Chicago Vocation
Office, has launched the Newman Forum to build a community of intellectually-active Catholic students who
participate in events together throughout their high school careers.


The Newman Forum hosts major academic conferences twice a year, once in the autumn and once in the winter/spring. Conferences give students the opportunity to interact with big-name Catholic scholars representing global Catholic institutions as well as like-minded peers and graduate students as they engage and wrestle with major issues of science, history, politics, religion, literature, and more. 

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Summer Institute

The Newman Forum runs a Summer Institute for high school students at Mundelein Seminary every summer. Mornings will be spent learning philosophy and theology from college professors, and afternoons will be spent going on fun excursions throughout Chicagoland.

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Online Events

In Spring and Summer of 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Newman Forum began holding bi-weekly seminars. For one hour, students gathered on Zoom to read and discuss various topics. Since then, our online programming has expanded to include a variety of larger conferences and small groups.

Book Club

Starting in October of 2020, the Newman Forum will be hosting an online, twice monthly book club open to all high school students around the country! The 2020-2021 Book Club will be reading through Thomas More's Utopia together.

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The Newman Forum strives to create a community of like-minded students who value their Catholic formation and desire greater involvement with the intellectual tradition of their faith. Through our Fellows program, The Newman Forum offers students the chance to take on leadership roles in their schools and parishes, recruiting friends for Newman Forum events, helping us develop our programming, and representing the Lumen Christi Institute.

Essay Contest

The Newman Forum Writers Prize is an award presented annually to the winners of our yearly writing competitions, which run in tandem to our conferences and programs. Winners will receive a $100 gift card and be honored at a banquet at the end of the year!

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Our Mission

To introduce high school students from around the country (but especially in Chicagoland) to a Catholic vision of life, culture, and liturgy. Through a mixture of large and small events, the Newman Forum exposes teens to the Church’s venerable tradition of integrated intellectual and spiritual life, prepares them to defend the faith in a rigorous way, and inoculates them against secular arguments they will hear in college.


The median age for disaffiliation among young Catholics is 13, with teenagers citing intellectual questions among their top reasons: Why does evil exist? How can science and religion co-exist? How is the historic Church related to today’s Church?

Catholic colleges and universities may be able to answer these questions, but 90% of Catholic students wind up attending non-Catholic schools, and they’ve already disaffiliated years before! The Church’s intellectual tradition is a vast treasure house (cf. Matthew 13:51-53). The intellectual formation of teenagers should not be left to the secular world.

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