INSIDE THIS ISSUE...
Welcome to the May issue of The Grapevine. It has been a wonderful academic year here at Christendom and I want to thank all of you who have contributed to The Grapevine over the past number of issues. My hope is that we can continue to keep each other up-to-date and informed about what's going on in the lives of alumni, and hopefully, The Grapevine is helping in this regard. We also have a closed Facebook group for alumni which you might have an interest in joining, as well as a LinkedIn group to help with networking amongst the alumni.
I would like to dedicate this issue of The Grapevine to Mr. William "Bill" McGraw, who died March 18, in his home, at the good old age of 93, with his family around him. Bill McGraw was very instrumental in the founding of Christendom College and both he and his wife, Onalee, were original members of the Board of Directors. All three of Bill and Onalee's children - Laura McGraw Clark, Fr. Stephen McGraw, and Tom McGraw - graduated from Christendom and when it came time to retire in the late '90s, the McGraws chose Front Royal - in fact, they chose Berbusse Lane, right across from the College - as their retirement destination. The top right picture in the first Christendom College Report, below, is of him and members of the Board meeting at his house back in the early days of the College.
On a personal level, I first met Mr. McGraw when I was around 4 years old. He and my father were good friends and very involved in the pro-life movement from the beginning and the two of them used to spend much time in the basement of my house working on printing pro-life flyers and newsletters to hand out. When it came time for the March for Life each year, the McGraws and McFaddens were two of the maybe 4 or 5 families to pull their kids out of school (St. John's in McLean, VA) to attend the March - the other families (of which I am aware) were also later-to-be Christendom people: the Francis family and the Kopecks. When my family moved to Ireland when I was 10, the McGraws came to visit us, and when I fishined my sophomore year here at Christendom, I spent the summer living with them in their house in McLean. Mr. McGraw was good people, as they say, and I pray that he is enjoying his everlasting reward and that he's praying for good 'ole Christendom. Below is a picture I took at his funeral. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Until next time.....Tom McFadden, Director of Admissions, Marketing, & Alumni Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Before Instaurare, there was the Christendom College Report. These little pieces of history are great to read to get insights into Christendom College and its origins. Enjoy!
Name: Robert Brown
Graduation Year: 2002
Grad school? MBA, Shenandoah University, Winchester VA
Current Occupation/Job Title: Assistant Director Operations, Virginia Tech, National Capital Region, Arlington, VA
Past jobs held: Business Manager, Virginia Tech, Office Manager, John Paul II Institute
Why did you choose to go into this field?: I enjoy accounting and administration
How has your Christendom College education/experience helped you in your profession?: Christendom provided me the contacts necessary to get my first job out of graduate school. Christendom's reputation as a solid Catholic school is something that holds much weight in my previous jobs within the Church. Also, it provides basic tools in handleing difficult issues by teaching you to reason through issues.
What are you doing in your professional life to "restore all things in Christ.": I try to be a silent witness through example. In many places that is the best example you can provide. If people see something is different about you and you work hard, there is an attraction to that.
What do you miss most about Christendom?: I do miss the Catholic culture that existed on campus. I have been able to maintain many friendships made at Christendom.
Anything else?: Some good advice would be that it is important to prepare for your career after graduation. Participating in internships in the summer is a great way to prepare. This allows you to gain work experience, make contacts and find out what you like to do.
Coffee House. It's an event to remember, right? Some of our best memories from college are from the various talent and variety shows that the students put on, and none is bigger than the annual Coffee House production. Over the years, the talent continues to shine, and The Grapevine will now be featuring an oldie but goodie clip in every issue, until people start throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at the screen:)
Here is an insight into what it might be like to fly Catholic Airways. Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
“'Truth exists. The Incarnation happened.' These powerful words, uttered by the speaker with complete conviction, resonated in my brain. In 5 words, Dr. Warren Carroll, professor of the History of Western Civilization course as well as president of Christendom College, summed up the whole of human history, and in that moment, history, a subject I had loved since childhood, became not simply stories of great people and events or a chronological listing of things which had happened in the past, but a living reality, with a past, a present, a future, and most decidedly, a purpose.
'Jesus Christ was either exactly who He said He was, or He was the greatest fabricator of all time.' These thought-provoking words effectively guaranteed that my attention was riveted on the speaker. Dr. Carroll had the most amazing ability to make us think. How could this be? No one had ever presented the Person of Jesus Christ to me in such a fashion. I had simply accepted Him for who He was. Dr. Carroll’s words inspired me to learn so much more. . . History began with God’s creation of the world, reached its greatest moment, Redemption, in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and looks forward to Parousia, when God will be all in all and His kingdom will have no end. The birth, life. death, and resurrection of Jesus is the central point of human history, with all coming before pointing toward it, and all which has come after leading towards fulfillment in Jesus Christ, for those who choose to accept Him. What followed throughout the course of the year was story after story after story of brave men and women who lived the Catholic faith fully and completely in every conceivable circumstance ranging from complete happiness and joy to great trial and persecution. The followers of Christ struggled. They fell. They picked themselves up. They stood in the face of incalculable odds. They stood firmly rooted in the truth and love of God. They rejoiced in the promise of salvation given by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They died rather than reject Him.
The thoughts, the images, and the promises contained in the words which Dr. Carroll spoke to our small group of sophomore history students on that first day of class, and in all of the classes which followed, have remained with me, inspired me, comforted me, and given me the strength to stand firm in the conviction of Truth in the many instances in my life in which such was required. It has been 25 years since I graduated from Christendom, and the foundation of my Catholic faith which was laid by my parents and solidified through my Christendom education remains firm and unshakeable still. I am all the better for it." - Hope Chesanek Johnson, '86, History major
This was the last picture taken of Dr. Carroll on the College's campus prior to his death. This was St. Patrick's Day 2011.
"When I was about 5 years old, Dr. Carroll called my Dad, Robert Rice. I answered the phone and he asked for Robert. I asked him who was speaking and he replied, as my 5 year old ears heard it, "Warm Cow." I was rather confused, but Dad still took the call. When Dad got off the phone he told us that it was 'Warren Carroll.' We have enjoyed for many years my little ears' mistake and think with fondness on Dr. Carroll whenever we hear his name. Prayers and gratitude for all Dr. Carroll's dream and hard work has done for our family, 3 generations now!" - Elizabeth (Rice) Wallace '05
"It is unusual to be able to thank a fellow human being for four of the best years of your life; to credit him in great part for orchestrating your education, your marriage, and your children. Yet so many alumni can thank Dr. Carroll for just that. With his unforgetable voice in class and in books, Dr. Carroll has ensured the fire of truth continues to spread, reminding us that the crowning moment of history--and the meaning of life--centers on the Word made Flesh." - Katherine (Mitchell) Dancause '00.
Charlie Spiering on Religious Independence.
Craid Spiering is quoted in the National Catholic Register.
The Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors talks about Obama at ND
Chairman of Christendom's Board defends Vatican
Ben Aker writes about St. Mark
Laurel Munsill Muff's blog
Mark Rohlena's latest blog post.
Dr. Luckey writes on the Easter Vigil.
Christian Tappe's lastest article
Alicia Joy (Dugas) Parowski has been MIA since graduation in 2002 and would like to apologize for her disappearance--she hopes to make a reappearance at Homecoming this year in time for her 10 year reunion. She is glad to report that she has been a jack-of-all
trades in the meantime. Alicia Joy was a novice with the Sisters of Life until Dec. 2003; then, she became a student of theology, a daycare director, a UPS Store Manager, an assistant to a D.R.E., a Children's Catechumenate teacher, receptionist, assistant to a Principal, and a wife and mother. Alicia Joy is currently in the process of completing her Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) Levels I & II (3-6 yrs. & 6-9 yrs. old) Catechist formation with the Montessori Catechetical and Cultural Institute in Great Falls, VA. Above is a picture from Alicia Joy & Matthew Parowski's wedding in July 2010 with some familiar faces including alumni Fr. Shaun Whittington, Fr. Jacinto Mary, FI (Jason Chapin), Fr. Denis Donahue, and former college chaplain Fr. Daniel Gee and others. How good it is to be surrounded by priestly friends on one's wedding day! In October 2011, on the Feast of Our Lady of Victory/Our Lady of the Rosary, after 62 hours of labor, Alicia Joy & Matt welcomed their first child, Sean-Paul Ambrose, into the world via c-section. He is a delightful and beautiful healthy bouncing baby boy, now almost 7 months old. To the right, he is pictured with his delighted parents during his first visit to the zoo.
Jane (Finlay) Smith ('08) has started a cake decoration business. After making lots of birthday, anniversary, and special event cakes over the past year, she will be making the wedding cakes for two Christendom alumni weddings this year. Blue Ridge Buttercream is a custom cake bakery, dedicated to providing individualized designs and personalized service. My mission is to provide custom cakes that are unique, beautiful, and most importantly, delicious. All cakes are baked from scratch, starting with the finest ingredients and avoiding unnecessary additives and preservatives. Her goal is to create your vision of a beautiful cake without ever compromising on taste. You can find examples of her cake designs at www.blueridgebuttercream.wordpress.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blueridgebuttercream. Centrally located between Harrisonburg, Winchester, and Front Royal, contact Blue Ridge Buttercream by emailing email@example.com.
Alumna Anita Crane '03 is always busy. Here are more of her recent stories:
‘James Madison is rolling over in his grave’
Movie makers defy ‘Don’t touch this story’ warnings
‘October Baby’ beats forecasts, expansion announced
Kirk Cameron talks about Piers Morgan, ‘Monumental’ and tyranny
What I did this Spring by: Sarah (Stafki) Muro (96-98): This spring, for the first time since we became interested in birding, the proverbial stars and planets were aligned just right, and my twelve-year-old daughter Bella and I were able to go out birding four mornings a week at a nearby nature sanctuary in east/central Florida. Thanks to my husband Chris (’98) Muro, assisted by our 9 year old Katalina, who stayed behind to help watch the little ones, we had a welcoming breakfast ready for us when we got back each morning.
There are quite a few birds species we had never seen before, and many of those, we had learned, could be spotted coming through Florida during the spring (and fall) migration, on their way up north. While the numbers of these migrants are much higher in south Florida and the Gulf coast, we knew that some would stop over briefly at our sanctuary. In the past few years, we had noticed birds when at the beach, and about once a month the family would drive around some of our wonderful wetlands. Including the birds in our own backyard, we had managed to identify over 90 species so far!
We had also trampled through the sanctuary many times, noticing turtles and pretty trees, but wondered why we never managed to see the wonderful birds advertised in the flyers there. The Painted Bunting, for instance. This spring changed all that! We spent countless hours walking, or rather creeping along boardwalks, crouching to listen to a faint twittering under scrub and palms, or to glance a small feathered friend hiding behind a huge tree root; we snapped and crackled over uneven, forest paths, scanning every treetop for a flash of a wing or a glimpse of a bright color. We stood for agonizing minutes with our necks bent back and our faces pointed skyward to see miniscule warblers zipping about. We attempted to sort out the spots, patches and stripes, various shades of yellow, tan and black, the “chips” and the warbles, and remember which went with which bird, until we could properly identify them! There were many that we simply could not put a name to, and despite the numerous bird calls we learned to recognize, there are some that remain nameless songs in our heads.
We have walked over 50 miles at this point, with less than a couple of weeks remaining before the last straggler flies through. We have met many other birders from near and far, some of the kindest people, who will point out a bird that you completely missed, help identify one you are looking at, or listen to your stories of “the one that got away.” My legs are tired, my feet are sore and my neck has had better days. The season is winding down, and there are few birds to be seen, but I savor each trip to the sanctuary! On these days when migration is slow, we have come to enjoy seeing the same familiar resident birds, such as nesting Cooper’s Hawks and Red-Bellied woodpeckers. Bella hasn’t has this much one-on-one time with me since she became a big sister ten years ago. Together, we have developed a heightened sense of perception, more focused listening skills, and a greater appreciation for the marvels of creation. We know we still have more to learn, and we’re excitedly anticipating the fall migration season which is nearly five months away! Looking back to March, our original intention was to see alot of bird species and watch our numbers add up at www.ebird.com But in the process, we have been challenged physically and mentally, and we have made some memories and new friends, including 30 new species of birds. And we finally saw that Painted Bunting. To learn a little more about birds and nature, subscribe to Bella’s brand new youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/bellabird2000 and you’ll receive notice when her bi-weekly “Bird Morsels” are posted . She has a lot of insightful things to tell us, and would love for you to tune in! Look for it to begin on May 14th!
Andrew and Julie Fier (2001) just returned home from an amazing vacation to St Maartin in the Caribbean. (pic attached) We enjoyed sailing, snorkeling, the beach and pool, and spa treatments, all at a 5 star resort with amazing meals and drinks for 5 days, while the kids stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa! It was an ALL expenses paid trip that Andrew won from being in the top 10 Service Advisers for Audi in the United States. He placed #3 and is going to be representing the USA in the World Competition in July of this year, along with the #1 and #2 Service Advisers and the top 3 Technicians in the the US. They are going to Berlin Germany to compete against 40 other countries!
Megan (Von Ehr) Woyak '08 and her husband, Matt, bought their first home last Friday in Irving, Texas, and are excited to settle in, grow a garden, and get some pets. Come and visit if you're in the area!
Tom McFadden '90 was recently accepted into Shenandoah University's MBA Program and will begin taking classes this summer. He previously earned his MA in Theological Studies from Christendom's Grad School and encourages everyone to look into this great program (which offers an MA degree online) with the Christendom Grad School. It's faithful, affordable, and flexible.
Theresa Fisher ('03) recently published a heartwarming story entitled "Joy in the Ordinary." Despite the title, it is not a treatise on the virtue of joy, nor is it an autobiographical account of how she and husband Ben manage life with six kids and two dogs (we have a blog for that). Rather, it is a work of fiction involving love, loss, legal homebrewing, laughter and life discernment. Stop in for an enjoyable read--her book is available on Kindle, iTunes, Amazon, Lulu, and Nook.
From Regina Reninger '92: I've been doing lots of singing this Spring with my Sweet Adelines quartet, Revolution, and my Sweet Adelines chorus, Vienna-Falls. The quartet competed in our first ever Sweet Adelines International Regional Competition and won the Novice Quartet Award. My chorus competed at Regional Competition a week later and won the Region, which entitles the chorus to compete at the International Competition in November, 2013, in Honolulu, Hawaii! (Regina is third from the left)
Sam and Katie(Fitzpatrick) Phillips '08 joyously welcomed their second child, Margaret Therese, on April 26. She joins big brother Isaac who will be two in May. Sam continues to teach and serve as the admissions director at The Avalon School in Gaithersburg, MD, and Katie happily stays at home taking care of their little family.
Gregory Rice ('97), seen here with wife Courtney and daughter Bernadette) finally received his MBA from the University of Dallas.
Joe and Emily (Mersch) Molitor would like to announce the birth of their daughter, Monica Therese. She was born on April 16, 2012 weighing 8 lbs. 2 oz. She is doing wonderful and they are very blessed.
Bobby, Angela (Von Ehr) ('07) and Grace Murphy spend Easter vacation in Florida. They enjoyed the sun, surf and sand of both the Gulf and the ocean. This was Grace's first trip to the beach, and she seemed to love it!
Michael and Mary (McCarthy) Murphy ’95 most happily and warmly welcomed little Damian Patrick into our family on March 24 (Dr. Carroll's birthday). Having a baby right after the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (3/23), on the Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel , and a day before the Feast of the Annunciation on 3/25 gave us very special reasons to give thanks to the greatest Mother of all!
Michael and Caitlin (Turner) Marchand '06 and their three kiddos will be moving to Shreveport Louisiana this September, where Mike will begin training to fly the B52 Stratofortress. Everyone is very excited about the move, but sad to leave their parish in Enid Oklahoma. (Christendom connection, their priest has visited the college when he roomed with Father Lundberg in seminary). Being moved around fairly often in the Air Force, the Marchands have come to appreciate the blessing of landing in a good parish. If anyone knows the Shreveport-Bossier area and knows anything about the churches/schools, or really anything of interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat and Laura (Henderson) Scanlon (both '03) are happy to announce the birth of their second child, Faith Christine. She was born January 25, 2012 (finally! at two weeks past her due date). Felicity (age 3) thinks her baby sister is great, and they are all doing well in Front Royal.
Christendom girls--holding FUTURE Christendom girls. Taken at the Gossin home in Herndon, VA. April 2012 Olivia (and Annabelle) Gossin, Bethany (and Kateri) Rogers and Jessica (and Lilli) Schuetz.
Bryan Hadro ('04) figured he would check in from ESPN headquarters, where he works as a web developer in Bristol, CT. This month, he got the opportunity for a photo-op with Lord Stanley's cup (sorry Canada, maybe next year). Additionally, legendary pitcher Jim Abbott came by for a QA&A session and pitched some wiffle-ball batting practice afterwards. Making his way into a SportsCenter commercial has proved to be an elusive endeavor, but he will be sure to let you know if he ever gets a TV spot.
Jim Abbott Wiffle Ball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkkcSbuCf0E
Name: Celia Gossin
Hometown and year: Nokesville, Va, and a senior - Class of 2012
Parents: Laura Smith '87 and Daniel Gossin '83-'85
How influencial were your parents in your decision to attend Christendom? I grew up hearing stories from my parents about the college they went to and it sounded like a great school. When it was time to apply for colleges, Christendom had always been in the back of my mind so I decided to give it a try.
What do you think is the biggest change at Christendom from what you hear of the old days? My mom would always tell me how they used to live in trailers as their dorms or how every class they took and every meal they ate was in the Regina Coeli Hall. Now of course we have different buildings for all that and dorms to live in.
Are there any advantages of being a "legacy" student? I wouldn't really say there are necessarily any advantages to being a "legacy" child when going to school here. However, it was nice to be able to know what the school was all about before coming and being able to see how my parents used their diplomas from here to find jobs. I look up to the way my parents live the Catholic life and the way they raise their family. Much of what they learned came from their own parents but I know much also comes from their experiences at Christendom.
Have you had any of the same teachers as your parents? There are a few professors here who I have had class with who also taught my parents such as Mr. O'Herron, Mrs. Hickson and Dr. Luckey.
Do you have any favorite stories that they used to tell about their days at Christendom? My dad tells us the story of the Upper/Under football game his freshman year. Apparently, he was one of the players who led the underclassmen to their first victory. It's a story he's very proud of :).
How many alumni children have come to Christendom already?
Over the past 12 years, the College has enrolled over 120 children of alumni. The first children of alumni, called legacy students, came to the College in fall of 2000 In fact, it was Jacinta Scheetz who came in 2000 and graduated in 2004 - the first legacy graduate! And each of them (other than the faculty and staff children who receive free tuition) has received the Alumni Scholarship of $500 each semester that they attended. Whether a student graduated or simply attended for one semester, all are considered alumni and if their children attend Christendom, they automatically receive the Alumni Scholarship. The more money that is donated to this cause, the more money there will be to give out to other legacy children in the future. Below is a picture of 7 legacy students who graduated last year: Catherine Briggs, Mary Harrington, Mary Kate Vander Woude, Emily Scrivener, Bernadette Horiuchi, Margaret McShurley, and Karl Haislmaier.
This year's graduating class includes 12 legacy students - the most ever: Johnny Ciskanik, Erin Clark, Dominick Donahue, Rob Fetsko, Katie Francis, Celia Gossin, Patricia Lademan, Catherine Marra, Anna McShurley, Brianna Miller, Dominic O'Donnell, and Cecilia O'Reilly.