Online Summer School 2018

Online Summer School 2018

12:00am, Sunday, August 5th, 2018
11:45pm, Friday, August 24th, 2018


Theology of the Arts. Does the Church Need Art?


This summer we are offering a one week online summer school motivated by a significant question posed by Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Artists: Does the Church Need Art? Six lectures will examine current theological debate on beauty and the arts, and consider some of the challenges posed by a contemporary culture of image and sound to the Church’s traditional understanding of the function of sacred art. Hence, we will examine the historical teachings of the Catholic Church concerning architecture, pictorial art, music and literature, and explore ways in which individual art forms harmoniously unite with the worshipping community to create a beautiful house for the Lord. 

The course is very flexible as it is delivered entirely online and is available to start on  August 5 and August 19. No previous study of theology or art is required.

Fr Michael Dunleavy, OP

Michael Dunleavy OP is a member of the Irish Dominican Province. He studied theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Tallaght and the Angelicum University, Rome. Michael has always had a keen interest in music and the arts; and, in his Dominican ministry, has preached retreats and presented conferences on the theme of the beauty of the Christian faith as portrayed in masterpieces of art and masterworks of music.

Michael spent nine years in Rome at the Irish Dominican Community of San Clemente undertaking the roles of prior and bursar. The exceptional beauty of the Basilica of San Clemente, situated within the cultural and art-historical milieu of the city of Rome, was an inspiration for Michael to pursue further studies in the arts. He was awarded a BA (Hons) in Art History and Music from the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

Michael is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on the Dominican artist Fra Angelico, titled "Epiphanies of Beauty: Music Iconography and its Spiritual Meaning in Selected Paintings of Fra Angelico".


The following themes will be explored:

Lecture 1: Course Introduction & the Church’s Need for Art.

Lecture 2: The Aesthetic Experience: Sight and Sound

Lecture 3: The Way of Beauty as a privileged Way to God

Lecture 4: The ‘Bible of the Poor’ as Theological Text

Lecture 5: Blessed Fra Angelico, Patron of Artists and Dominican Preacher Extraordinaire

Lecture 6: The Way Forward – the Role of the Arts in Evangelisation

Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to register.


The  course is offered twice this August and will begin on 5 August and 19 August 

5 August – 10 August

19 August – 24 August

Registration must be complete two working days before the course is due to begin i.e. 2 August and 16 August

Course Delivery

This summer school course is offered entirely online so access to the internet is required. On registration participants will be given a password to access our eLearning platform (website). One new video lecture will made available each day as the week progresses.  The video lectures can be viewed at anytime and all the lectures will remain available for a number of weeks after the course ends.

During the week of the summer school participants are invited to interact in a forum, an online discussion site where attendees can hold conversations about the course content in the form of posted messages. The course leader Fr Michael Dunleavy will also participate in these discussions.


€60,  €50 current Priory Institute students

More Information

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +353 (0)1 4048124.

All are welcome

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