The Catholic University of America

Basselin Foundation

Advisory Committee:
The President of the University
The Provost of the University
Provincial, Society of St. Sulpice

Administrative Officers:
Father Gerald D. McBrearity, P.S.S., S.T.B., D.Min., M.A., Rector, Theological College
Father David Thayer, P.S.S., Director of Intelectual Formation, Theological College
Dr. John C. McCarthy, Dean, School of Philosophy
Dr. Matthias Vorwerk, Associate Dean, School of Philosophy

In fulfillment of the will of Theodore Basselin, The Catholic University of America established a foundation in his name to provide fellowships in a special course of studies for diocesan seminarians preparing for the Catholic priesthood. Candidates for the fellowships must have completed two years of the liberal arts curriculum in a college/university or a college/university program under diocesan sponsorship; they must also have given evidence of superior performance in their studies. The Basselin Foundation fellowships carry such students through three years of intensive work in philosophy: two years on the undergraduate level in the concentration program of the School of Philosophy, and one year of postgraduate work leading to the master's degree. Students admitted under the Basselin fellowships must qualify for this program and maintain an acceptable average to retain their fellowships.

In the curriculum, first importance is given to those branches of philosophy most necessary as a preparation for the study of theology; stress is laid upon the courses in scholastic philosophy. The Basselin fellowship, as is stipulated in its charter, also requires its recipient to give special attention to public speaking in view of later pastoral responsibilities.

During the three-year fellowship, full tuition, room, and board are provided to the students accepted into the program. In addition to these academic and financial benefits, the students continue their preparation for the priesthood through participation in the seminary life and fomration programs of Theological College of The Catholic University of America. Although the Basselin students are part of the larger community, they receive individual attention through their spiritual director and formation adviser to help them in their discernment process, as they develop spiritually and personally.

In addition to the regular requirements for degrees cited above, Basselin students are required to take three courses in the area of public speaking. The first of these, DR 205, is usually taken in the junior year. The second and third courses are available through the School of Philosophy. The courses are:

DR 205 Introduction to Speech Communication (3) - Theory and exercises in speech communication, emphasizing perception, language (verbal and nonverbal), and interaction. Students apply principles in a variety of transactions. Required of concentrators.

PHIL 374 Ritual, Language, and Action (3) - A survey course of basic speech techniques and drama skills applied to the language and action of the liturgy. Students learn through lecture, classroom discussion, and ongoing development of skills and group critique. Leading prayer in the seminary community also serves as a practicum.

PHIL 375 Liturgical Readings (3) - Through classroom discussion and ongoing practicum, students learn the foundations for and the skills of proclaiming the Word of God in the liturgical setting. Theological and practical skills learned in this course are applied in the seminary community and as reader at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

For admission information, please contact the Office of the Rector of Theological College at 202-756-4907 or