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In 2020, St. Michael’s Abbey began the Archangel Institute—a faith-formation program open to young men ages 14-18. For the sake of fostering authentic Catholic masculinity among our youth, the Archangel Institute offers high school level religion courses, the sacrament of Confirmation, spiritual outreach to parents, quarterly father-son retreats, as well as an annual father-son pilgrimage to Rome.
Given that the Catholic education of the youth is one of our primary apostolates, St. Michael’s Abbey enjoys a rich history of teaching. Before accepting Cardinal McIntyre’s invitation in 1957 to teach at Mater High School in Santa Ana, our seven founding Hungarian Fathers instructed young men at the ‘Gymnasium’ in Hungary. In 1961, Fr. Abbot Ladislaus Parker and Hubert Szanto continued this apostolate by founding St. Michael’s Junior Seminary and Novitiate which would later become St. Michael’s Prep School.
The move to the new Abbey gave us time to reflect on the needs of the Catholic community around us, and it afforded us a chance to imagine how we could better serve this strong community of the Faithful. The Archangel Institute was a fruit of this period of reflection. Today, the Archangel Institute shares the best of what the Prep School had to offer to a growing number of young men drawn from all of Southern California. Exposed to the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, these students experience a true foretaste of the heavenly liturgy by participating with the Norbertines in Holy Hour and Liturgy of the Hours. Students also receive the necessary means to achieve their ultimate goal, Heaven, through the weekly reception of the sacrament of confession.
Unlike students in many other Catholic institutions, Archangel Institute students are taught the faith by men who live the faith, namely, Norbertine priests and seminarians. When a student joins the Archangel Institute, he becomes not merely a student, but a spiritual son who is cared for, prayed for, and loved with the priestly heart of Christ. Students also form a brotherhood deeply rooted in the truths of the Catholic faith, the practice of chastity, the reception of the sacraments, and communion with the Norbertine priests and seminarians.
By instilling in our young men the faith, catechesis, masculine virtues, sonship, and brotherhood, the Archangel Institute shines in a world plagued by anti-masculine ideology. Boys become Catholic gentlemen who are not only rooted in the Church’s teachings and culture, but also become the model Catholic fathers, religious, and priests of tomorrow. Monastic life at the Abbey bears witness and gives hope to young men that true Catholic masculinity can still be practiced today.