Mission

Be a Part of the Aquinas Catholic Community

Our mission is to lead students to a growing relationship with Christ, equipping them to become lifelong, intentional disciples (see Mt. 28:16, Mk 12:30-31, Acts 2:42). Our goal is for students to grow in three areas:
 
  1. Intimacy with God (Prayer, Mass, Sacraments, Scripture)
  2. Community with Catholics (Small Groups, Seminars, Service, Fellowships)
  3. Influence with Others (Evangelization)

The Aquinas Institute, which was founded in 1928, provides a religious home for 1200+ undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to many members of the faculty and staff at the university. There is a strong, vibrant Catholic presence on campus, as Catholics are the largest self-identified religious group among students at Princeton.

 
In the Bible, we read that the first generation of Jesus’ followers devoted themselves to four essential practices: “they held steadfastly to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts of the Apostles 2:42). Likewise, our community at Princeton is devoted to these same four practices: 

Breaking of the Bread: Sacramental Life

As the central act of the community, Mass is offered daily (Monday – Friday @ 12 pm) and twice on Sundays (4:30 pm & 10 pm). The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is available in the chapel Monday – Friday from 11:30 am – 12 pm, and during AdorationRCIA prepares students to enter the Church or go deeper in their faith, as they prepare for Baptism, Confirmation, and/or their first Communion. 

The Teaching of the Apostles: Intellectual & Faith Formation

Aquinas offers Small Group Bible Studies on campus throughout the week, providing students the opportunity to grow in their faith and develop friendships. We also offer seminars to deepen our understanding of the faith, not allowing ourselves to be conformed to the world, but instead being transformed by the renewal of our minds (cf. Romans 12:1-2). And throughout the year we host a number of guest speakers, including prominent Catholic intellectuals, religious leaders (bishops/cardinals), as well as Princeton professors. 

Prayer

Aquinas helps students to develop a rich interior life through personal and communal prayer. The Blessed Sacrament (the Eucharist) is reserved in the tabernacle in the University Chapel in the Marquand Chapel (on the left side), and students are welcome to pray there in Jesus’s presence from 7 am – 11 pm every day. Adoration of the Eucharist is offered on Tuesdays (9-10 pm) and Fridays (11 am – 12 pm). Students gather together formally to pray the Rosary once a week, but also informally meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary on their own or with small groups of friends. During the Lenten season Morning Prayer is prayed daily in the Chapel, and the Stations of the Cross are prayed outdoors on campus every Friday evening. Retreats and pilgrimages are also offered at various times throughout the year. 

Fellowship

Through our fellowship with others, we grow in virtue, learning to encounter Christ in our Christian brothers and sisters, in our neighbor, and in the poor. Much of what we do – Mass, prayer, Bible Studies, seminars, retreats – are all opportunities for fellowship and fostering deeper community. Through service, we extend our fellowship to others who are in need. Aquinas also sponsors various socials, through which members of the Aquinas community have an opportunity to learn more about one another, celebrate the great festivals of the liturgical year, and the important events in our lives, such as the welcoming of our newest members on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil. There are also weekly gatherings of men’s and women’s fellowship, as well as Graduate Student Fellowship

Fellowship extends beyond those who are Catholic. Since every person has been created out of love by God, we welcome all members of the university community to find a home at Aquinas. Through our ministry of evangelization, the Aquinas Institute prepares our community members to be active proclaimers of the Faith and sharers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This ministry trains leaders in the New Evangelization and sends them out into the world. Our mission is to give everyone an opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ during their time at Princeton.