School of the Announciation - Centre for the New Evanghelism School of the Announciation - Angel Statue
at Buckfast Abbey - Devon

Ecclesiastical Latin

Beginner and Intermediate levels

One-year distance-learning programmes at two levels


The Latin language has been an integral part of the evangelisation and unification of European culture, and remains today the language of the Western Rites of the Church (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36). 

A study of Latin opens the door to the Catholic liturgical tradition, and is an essential part of Catholic higher studies in philosophy and theology. The Church asks that those who are to be formed in the Catholic intellectual tradition should be provided with the means of studying Latin (on this see, for instance, the Code of Canon Law, 249).

This course, offered by the School of the Annunciation, provides a flexible, distance-learning way of studying ecclesiastical Latin making it available to priests, religious and lay people who cannot be involved in full-time study.

The School of the Annunciation is located at the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary at Buckfast, which has its roots in the 11th century. As the Benedictines played such an essential role in the first evangelisation of Europe, forming a unified European Christian culture, so the School of the Annunciation, with its Benedictine character and ethos, desires to contribute to the new evangelisation by building upon and in some way revitalising that deep, historical origin. 

The Aim of the Course1

The course aims to enable students to access, participate in, and engage with the Latin liturgical and intellectual texts of the Catholic tradition.

Course Content and Delivery

The programmes are delivered through two short residential periods at Buckfast Abbey involving class-room teaching, Latin Seminars and Latin in the Liturgy. 

For the main part of the year the programme follows the basic text of the course, supported by regular interaction and support by personal tutors. Students who complete the one-year beginner course have the option to advance to the one-year intermediate course.

The required text for the course is:

  • Carol Byrne, Simplicissimus (London, 1999)


  • John F. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington, 1985)
  • YouTube items and other internet resources on Latin learning

The student study-guide will assign sections of the textbooks with the aim of completing a monthly exercise. Appropriate internet resources will, in addition, be specified to support preparation for the exercise. Students have the option of a group-tutorial over skype as they prepare for the monthly assignment exercises. By the end of the year the Beginner Group will have covered the first half of the Byrne text; the Intermediate Group will have covered the second half of the Byrne text.


A monthly exercise is to be submitted for marking by the personal tutor allocated to you. 

Credit levels

On successful completion of each one-year course, students will receive a School of the Annunciation award with an official transcript. Students who complete the one-year beginner course have the option to advance to the one-year intermediate course. Successfully completing both beginner and intermediate levels will place students at a level approximately equivalent to the GCSE award.

Introductory Residential Visit

The course begins with an introductory residential at Buckfast Abbey which takes place

 * Dates for Autumn 2019 start are to be announced *

The second residential will take place in April of the following year. This residential will be of a similar length to the first. You will complete your course of studies in June 2020. 

Cost and Admission

Admission to the first year of this course is not dependent on any previous qualifications. Applications for intermediate level are open to those who have completed the first year of our course.

The cost of the course for students beginning in 2018 is £1,000. This fee includes accommodation and full board at Buckfast during the two residential programmes, lectures, and administrative costs. There is also a £50 application fee payable upon application.

For those applying for the 4-day residential weekend only, the cost is £345 with an application fee of £50 payable upon application.

Cancellation Rights

You have a 14-day cooling-off period which starts from the date of acceptance. Beyond this date the School is unable to offer refunds.


Download an application form here.

To apply online, click here: Apply Online.


For further information or to request an application form, please contact us by phone 01364 645660 or email  We will be happy to answer any enquiries you have.

1 Course – this term refers to an entire series of studies which may result in a qualification, for example the Diploma in the New Evangelisation (referred to as a program in US terminology).