Latin Department

If Rome is the Eternal City, then Latin must be the eternal language. The purpose of our Latin courses is to put our students in direct contact with this language and through it to give them a facility in reading and understanding the great classical works of antiquity. This is accomplished by the study of grammar, oral expression, reading, and composition.

Grammar is the basis of Latin studies at SMA for, as the noted Roman grammarian Quintilian observed, "Let children first of all know how to decline nouns and verbs, for they are not otherwise able to arrive at intellectual achievement." In addition to grammar, conversation in Latin is part of our program so that students appreciate its practical use to communicate ideas as simple as "hello," or "goodbye," and "how are you?". We ask questions, tell short stories, and sing songs in Latin putting grammar study to good use and reinforcing vocabulary in a pleasant, easy way. Gradually, we introduce readings of longer, graduated texts, in preparation for unadapted works of Caesar or Virgil, for example, and especially the beauties of the Roman liturgy and hymns. Composition exercises provide the opportunity to practice self-expression and editing skills and to develop a thorough understanding of grammatical analysis.

Above all, we wish to awaken and deepen our students’ appreciation for the beauty of our Faith as it is expressed in the liturgy, a treasure our students will take with them and use for the rest of their lives. Through the Latin language, our students will connect with eternal Rome and the Church, which is its center