Homecoming Weekend


Name: Jacob Akers
Woodbridge, VA
Hobbies? Acting, singing, making movies, comedy.
What's your favorite class/professor?
My favorite class this year is Old Testament with Prof. Peter Dunstan Brown. He gets everyone fired up about scripture with all the insight he brings to the classroom.
Do you play any sports?
I love playing all sports, but haven't played any intercollegiate ones here. I have really enjoyed the intramurals. My favorite sport is definitely soccer, which I played in high school.
Do you participate in any drama or music related activities?
I was in a lot of musicals in high school, and am interested in doing drama here at Christendom. I am looking forward to getting involved with the Mystery Dinner Theater this year.
What is your favorite thing about Christendom? My favorite part about Christendom is the common Catholic values of everybody here. It makes the professors and administration approachable and you can relate to every student.
Why did you choose Christendom? Based on the recommendation of my older siblings and friends who came to Christendom. I saw the wonderful types of people that they grew to be through the formation they received here.
Plans after graduation? I don't have any plans for after graduation yet. It will definitely be somewhere where I can have a big impact on the culture.


Spirit Week

Last week, in preparation for Homecoming, Christendom students celebrated Spirit Week. Throughout the week the most spirited students were brought on stage during lunch to perform different challenges and contests sponsored by the Student Activities Council.

“I had a great time during Spirit Week!” Freshman Kelsey Ingold said. “Twin day was my favorite day. The whole week was a really great opportunity to show off the school’s spirit and bring everyone together in a fun and entertaining way.”

On Monday, each grade wore a different color representing their class. Freshmen wore pink.

Tuesday was Twin Day which had brother and sister Anthony and Sarah Barren, dressed as tree cutters, winning the best twin contest.

The annual favorite, Dress a Freshman Day, on Wednesday had senior students choosing freshmen to dress up in funny and clever ways.

Peter Pan and his Shadow was a runner up.

The Human Train.

The Basketball team poses with their female doppelgangers.

Thursday was Christendom Spirit Day and everyone wore their school apparel.

On Friday the great rivalry between the East and West Coast surfaced as students from either side of the country wore blue and white for East or red and yellow for West.

The New Roman Missal

Last Tuesday, Associate Chaplain Fr. William Fitzgerald began a three part lecture series on the new English translation of the Mass. In his first talk, he discussed the development of the Roman Mass. He explained how the traditions of the Church progressed from the first Christians through to modern day. Everything from the early Church buildings to the idea of genuflection was covered.

Perhaps the most interesting topic was the progression of the Roman missal. Early prayers were written down on papyrus by those who happened to overhear them and eventually they were collected and those in the religious life would painstakingly copy them in scriptoriums. The invention of the printing press made it easier to combine these “sacramentaries” and a series of reforms throughout the history of the Church has lead to the missal used today.

“Fr. William's talk was interesting because it gave so much history on the Mass and specifically the missal,” said Freshman Allie Crafton. “I’ll be coming back next week to learn more about the history and see how the new translation will affect me.”

You can download the talk at Christendom on iTunes U.
iTunes U

Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Athlete-Scholarship

The Thomas S. Vander Woude Memorial Golf Tournament was held on Friday at the Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal, Va. Ranked as the 3rd best golf course in Virginia, Blue Ridge Shadows provided close to 100 players with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, a great game of golf, and the opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause.

Organized by Athletic Director Chris Vander Woude, the golf tournament was a tremendous success. Sponsored by National Vendor Management Services, Inc.(Manassas, VA), along with K&B Underwriters, Inc,. Paladin Financial Group, Renaissance Montessori School, and many others, the tournament raised money to benefit a scholarship which will be given to an athlete-scholar each year. Freshman Mary Barbale was this year's first recipient of the award.

The scholarship is named for the late Thomas Vander Woude, former Athletic Director at Christendom, who died in 2008 saving the life of his son, Joseph. Thomas' widow, Mary Ellen, and 6 of their seven sons (including Joseph), were at the tournament. More pictures can be seen here.

They didn't win the tournament, but they sure did look good: alumni Chris "Beef" Smith, Denny Pregent, Sebastien Jansen, and Mike Freeman.

Chris Vander Woude announces freshman Mary Barbale as the first recipient of the Thomas S. Vander Woude Athlete-Scholar Award.

Chris Vander Woude congratulates the winning foursome of the tournament.

Mrs. Vander Woude, and the son whom Tom Vander Woude died saving - Joseph, enjoyed spending time at the awards banquet.

Alumni vs. Students

On Friday students and alumni packed into Crusader Gymnasium for the annual Alumni vs. Students Basketball games. In both the women's and the men's games the students were victorious. The alumni put up a great fight though; in both games the alumni dominated the first half.

Following the game students and alumni enjoyed a reception at St. Kilian's Café.

Alumna Nancy Lee ('96) still had the height advantage.
The Alumnae Crusaders.

Sophomore Brian Fox sneaks past alumni Scott Haliski ('00) and Ben McMahon ('04).

Sophomore David Townsend looks for a way around alumnus Victor Alcantara ('04).
The Alumni Crusaders.

Student band Nick Freeman and the Texas Heat played at the reception and accepted donations for the Senior Class Gift.

Alumni Picnic

Both past and present Christendom students came to the Alumni Picnic on Saturday. Children of the alumni were especially entertained as they ate treats like cotton candy and had Christendom students paint their faces. Faculty members came out as well and caught up with their former students during the picnic.

“What a great event,” said Senior Nick Lowry. “Good food, a moon bounce, face painting, and volleyball all made for a fun afternoon. We go all out for the alumni picnic!”

Sophomore Emi Funai painted many rainbows and fun animals on the cheeks of the children.

All the kids loved the moon bounce.

Students also made string bracelets and anklets for the children.

Homecoming Dance

The St. Lawrence Commons was beautifully decorated and filled with excited students and alumni on Saturday night for the annual Homecoming Dance. “Yesterday’s Swing Band” performed everyone’s favorite upbeat swing tunes for hours of dance, and at midnight a DJ took over the music for the last hour of the dance. The alumni also enjoyed a reception in the lower level of the library. Chef Dennis Paranzino had some delightful fare prepared for everyone as they enjoyed reminiscing and catching with old friends and professors.

“I loved how the majority of the dance has live music, for it makes it one of the most exciting and enjoyable dances of the year,” Junior Stephen Tomlinson said. “Having all the alumni back was great also.”

The Homecoming Dance is always one of the highlights of the year, for students are fully back in the swing of things and ready to relieve the stress of school through dancing and just enjoying a fun night with friends. This year was no exception, as both current students and many alumni thoroughly enjoyed the dancing, music, semi-formal atmosphere, and amazing company. Feeling fully re-energized, everyone is now ready to tackle a week full of mid-terms before Fall Break.

Freshman Jason Sparks gives Freshman Marilyn Charba a twirl.

Junior Katie Francis dances with Junior Rob Fetsko.

From Frank to Dean and Dorsey to Miller — they played it all.

The Orchestra loves playing at Christendom — they never encounter such energy and great dancing.

More pictures from Homecoming 2010 can be viewed here on the Picasa Web Album.

The New Roman Missal

On Columbus Day Monday, Christendom's Admissions Office welcomed over 30 high school seniors and their families to campus for the annual Senior Visit Day, held each year on Columbus Day.

Students were greeted by Associate Director of Admissions Mike Schmitt; heard about the academic program from Dr. Patrick Keats; toured the campus; sat in on a class; attended Mass; ate lunch with the faculty; heard about the spiritual life at from Chaplain Fr. Planty; learned more about the athletic program from Athletic Director Chris Vander Woude; given an overview of Christendom by College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell; heard from a panel of students about life on campus; watched a slide show about the semester in Rome Program; and informed about the Christendom difference by Admissions Director Tom McFadden.

"It was a great day, in fact, it was our largest and most successful Visit Day ever," said Mike Schmitt. "I am glad that so many people took advantage of this opportunity to visit Christendom and see what we are all about for themselves."

The Admissions Office will hold a special Junior Visit Day in the spring, on President's Day. Additionally, juniors are encouraged to think about coming to one of the College's summer programs.

Admissions Director Tom McFadden led one of the campus tours.

Students had the opportunity to sit in on classes. A number chose to attend Professor McGuire's history class.

Visitors had the chance to eat lunch with faculty and current students.

Fr. Planty outlined the details of the spiritual life at Christendom.

Athletic Director Chris Vander Woude summarized the sports program for the students.

Associate Director of Admissions Mike Schmitt was in charge of the day, acting as Emcee and host.

College President O'Donnell spoke to the students about the importance of a Christendom College liberal arts education.

The visitors heard from a student panel and could ask them questions about student life.


What a Week!

There are quiet weeks in Rome, which are calm and fairly uneventful, yet enjoyable and lovely in their sheer simplicity.

This was not one of those weeks!

Where to begin?! I don't even know how to begin to express the opportunities, emotions, and experiences I had in this
one week of my Rome pilgrimage. It's incredible.

Last Wednesday, Christendom went to the Papal Audience as a group, and not only was I able to sit on the same stage as "Il Papa," but I was able to sit in the front row! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my young life! There was such excitement when the Pope came out smiling and was blessing everyone. The charity flowing forth from this man's face is enough to break your own heart with love too.

Being there, as Christendom students, cheering, and yelling when the College was announced, and the Pope smiling at us and blessing us, was incredible. The Pope drove in his Pope-mobile right in front of us! We were just feet away from him! It was incredible.

When you see people reach up to him as he passes by, you think, "Well, that is sort of silly...They can't quite reach him, why do they bother?" But, honestly, it is almost an instinct. A really awesome incredible instinct, because as soon as he was in front of me, I did the same thing. I think it is because in life, we naturally reach toward all that is good, true, and beautiful—all that is loving... And goodness, the love that pours out of that man...I can't even describe the charity there! It is utterly amazing! Just being so close to him, you smile and grin and just can't help but feel happy because of all the love there! It's so incredible.

And that was only Wednesday!

On Saturday we had the wonderful opportunity to go on a tour of the Scavi: the third level underneath St. Peter's Basilica, which contains the tomb of St. Peter with his bones. The tour guide was great, and did an amazing job of telling not only the history of the discovery of St. Peter's bones, but also just expressing the Divine Providence of their finding. While we were on our tour below, above us three bishops were being ordained by Pope Benedict. It was so unbelievably breathtaking, to be in the place of St. Peter, the first Pope, to whom Christ said, "You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church." You can't help but cry; or least, I couldn't.

Everything culminated perfectly: upstairs, in the top level of St. Peter's, there were three bishops being ordained, the most gorgeous music was playing, choirs just singing the praises of Christ, while we, being part of the centuries of pilgrims who have journeyed to St. Peter's tomb knelt and prayed, while above us the beautiful and sacred apostolic succession was being continued! How can your soul not be overwhelmed with the beauty of it all? It is so unbelievably incredible one cannot help but be moved to tears. God's timing and providence is just awesome, and never ceases to amaze me.

And then Sunday!

It was rather, again, providential, because, as I put it, I had been "craving" a Latin Mass. Not that I dislike Italian Masses, but when you are in Italy, you begin to truly realize the beauty of Latin as the universal language of the Church. So Melanie Bright, Eryn Landry, and I decided to go to the 10:30 Mass at St. Peter's. As we were waiting to get through security, on the really huge TV screen they were showing a Mass. We all assumed it was from the Episcopal Ordination yesterday, which we thought was neat that they were showing it again. I mused about how much I missed Christendom's Masses, and the choir, and the litany they were currently saying was just reminding me more of that. So, we go in, and I randomly mentioned how once, when my sister, Alumna Katherine Scott, was in Rome, it was neat, because she sort of just stumbled upon a Papal Mass when she was going to Mass at St. Peter's. Little did I know...

We entered the Basilica, and it was packed! I thought, "Wow, that is weird...Hmm. Wait, those are Swiss Guards. There would only be this many if..."

I leaned over the divider to see who was saying Mass. I saw several Cardinals and bishops, then, on the altar, a little man, with a white zucchetto.

"Is that the Pope?" I wondered to myself, not wanting to say anything out loud yet, and excite the girls, thinking I'd wait until he spoke to know for sure. Then he spoke.

"Oh my gosh! That is the Pope saying Mass," I said. Soon Melanie, Eryn and I had all gotten seats and were participating in the glorious Papal Mass.

It was super awesome though, because not only was it a Papal Mass, it was the opening Papal Mass of a Synod! It was the Middle East Bishop's Synod.

The choir was great, and because of the nature of the Synod, they also had middle eastern choirs singing, with organum—a personal favorite. Also, they said the prayers of the faithful in several different middle eastern languages. It was so neat. I mean, how can one not just be in awe of God's providence and the beauty of everything! Needless to say, I forgot about how much I was missing Christendom campus at that particular moment—though I still love it!

After Mass, I was so focused praying and trying to avoid getting distracted by the chaos of a crowded Mass, that I initially didn't even realize what the chaos was for. The Pope was processing out! So I joined the throng of people up against the barricade, and a really nice young Italian priest told me that I could stand on the chair when the Pope passed by. When people started clapping, I knew the he was coming. Then he passed by.

The Pope is so wonderful. So happy and peaceful and full of joy and love. Again, just when you think you've experienced it all, the Papal audience on Wednesday, and then the Scavi tour yesterday, something new happens. It blows my mind. I mean, aside from just how happy I was that the Mass was the Latin Novus Ordo, and they used the same Chant Mass as Christendom—which was awesome—the Pope was saying the Mass. How cool is that?! Oh gosh. It's just awesome. I am so blessed.

It has been such an amazing, providential week, that I will never forget. We are so blessed to be here, and to be able to have the opportunities to have these experiences!

Who knows what is just around the corner?

Waiting for the Pope.

Bishops stand as the Pope approaches.

Liz snapped this photo of Benedict XVI as he passed by.


Students for Life

This week the Chronicler got to catch up with the campus pro-life group, Students for Life, which focuses on the activity of the pro-life movement. The club is made up of about 15 members who attend meetings around every two weeks or before a big project. This group of dedicated students works to support the local pregnancy center and to get those pro-life leaders elected who are able to make a difference in legislation regarding abortion. Simply stated, they make themselves available to any pro-life effort which needs their help.

Students for Life President Kelsey McCrum.
“Students for Life is a wonderful opportunity for students to be involved in an effort to save lives,” says Students for Life President, Junior Kelsey McCrum. “I’m grateful God has entrusted to us a task so noble.”

This year, Students for Life has three major projects planned, although they are ready to help with any additional projects that pop up. Their first big project was the voter-registration and absentee ballot request forms, and they had about 60 people register and request absentee ballots during lunches one week.

A number of Students for Life members participated in the local Walk for Life in town this past weekend. In addition, Christendom recently hosted Chris Slattery, who came to interview students for the opportunity to work as an intern at a crisis pregnancy center in New York.

Students for Life will do the lit-drops prior to Election Day, and these help to encourage a pro-life audience vote for the candidate that is truly pro-life. They take charge as well by putting literature on cars that compares and contrasts the pro-life versus pro-abortion candidate. Finally, they hope to have a diaper drive this year as a final project, in which they will collect supplies that the pregnancy center desperately needs.

Students for Life, Fall 2010.


The Game of the Year: East vs. West

With the usual one-sided high scoring freshmen orientation that the upper/under football game has become, many become accustomed to the same style come the East vs West game. Unfortunately this is rarely the case and this year’s annual homecoming East/West flag football game was exactly the case. The reason is parity. This year’s teams featured two of the most evenly matched teams in East/West history. Neither of the teams had a true “game changer,” someone that at any moment could break open the game. It would seem that both teams had potential “game changers” with the East’s Robbie Hambleton and the West’s Paddy Norton. Both players definitely impacted their teams but not necessarily in the way some people had thought or hoped.

The game was dominated by a run first, throw last style which, despite many arguments, is the best way to ensure a win at the most widely attended football game in Christendom’s school year! The West struck first, mid-way through the 1st half, with an outside 25 yard run from Junior speedster Paddy Norton. The first 10 minutes of the game, in fact, seemed that the West would literally run right over the East with runs from Norton, Troy Spring and quarterback Peter McNeely. But the defense of the East would rise to the occasion and, strengthened by Robbie Hambleton, Tim Vander Woude, and Richie Lancaster, the 10 yards runs by the West were changed to 3 and 4 yard runs. On the offensive side of the ball, the East couldn’t sustain any drives, having good plays here and there, but never getting that explosive play that would break the game open…that play would have to wait until the 2nd half: the score at halftime: West 6, East 0.

The difference in the game ended up being the offensive and defensive lines of the West which consistently opened up holes for the West running backs and spent most of their time in the East’s backfield pulling at quarterback Pat Stein’s flags. The game resembled a heavyweight or middleweight boxing fight where both boxers continually assail the opponent’s body with no attempt to go for the knockout punch. Midway through the second half, Peter McNeely dropped back for the West and through a pass which sophomore Nick Blank read the whole time, stepping in front for the interception and returning it 40 yards for the East’s first touchdown.
The East was unable to complete the 2 point conversion and so the score stood at 8-6 favoring the West. The score stood the same throughout the second half with the punters being so busy I actually saw them need water! The West would end up with the ball with almost 2 minutes at the 50 yard line and, with no timeouts, the East proceeded to let them score a touchdown which would ensure they would get the ball back and have a chance to tie: if they stopped the 2 point conversion try by the West – which they did. So the game stood at an 8 point difference with just over a minute left and the East started with the ball at their own 40 yard line. The call to let the West score was one of the smarter decisions made in recent memory, at least giving the East a fighting chance. On the first play by the East, the West line broke through and applied pressure to Pat Stein who had to rush his throw which was intercepted. Just like that, the fighting chance which the East had smartly gotten was snuffed out as the West held onto win 14-6. This the 2nd year in a row that the winner has won by just one score and hopefully signifies more close games to come based on the parity of the 2 sides.

The final score: 14-6. West wins again...for the seventh time in a row. More pictures can be seen on Christendom's Facebook Page or the Picasa Web Album.

East Quarterback Junior Pat Stein on the move.

Sophomore Tim Beer flies down the field.

Sophomore Robbie Hambleton dives for an attempted completion.

Stein tries to find his open man despite the efforts of Sophomore Mark Hepler.

Senior Francis Aul gets his hand on the ball making it wobble out of the hands of Sophomore Brendan Krebs.

Junior Paddy Norton finds the holes in the East defense.

They fought hard this year and are ready to taste victory next year.

The West wins for the seventh year in a row.

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you read part of an application essay that was sent in by a prospective student. Personally, I believe it to be one of the best written application essays I have read in my 6 years as Director of Admissions:

Once friends and family hear of my desire to attend Christendom College, I encounter typical reactions. Such as, "Where is that? I've never heard of it." “Well, it’s a quaint school.” “What will you do with that degree?” “How will you get a job from a school like that?” These condescending quips are echoed by my guidance counselors and teachers.

The resistance and concern grows as I explain how Jesus is at the conscious center of everything Christendom does. I have learned to confidently look people in the eye and smile, when I am put on the spot to explain Christendom College and what my reasons are for attending it. The conclusion I have arrived at is these individuals mean well, but are firmly rooted in the secular world. They see with the eyes of this world, nothing eternal is in their vision at all. They live in the here and now. The orientation of their life choices are based on the risks and rewards this world has to offer. Their perspectives on life indicate their total belief in the power of man, which leaves little or no room at all for God to work His miracles.

I currently attend an Archdiocesan high school, and the secular notions and agenda has even crept into my curriculum. Most of my teachers are younger and recently graduated from colleges and universities and it is clear they have not been taught the Faith. For example, I have been told/taught to disregard the Creation story in Genesis as nothing more than a folktale, because evolution is science. Another “truth” I have been taught is that man made global warming is fact. I most strenuously do not agree with either of these notions.

Secular progressivism despises people, especially young people that can think for themselves and not be so easily led like docile sheep to the slaughter. It rejects such old fashioned and provincial ideas of thinking critically and reasoning logically. But were not these the skill set and the basis for every great achievement mankind has made? The answer is yes. Of course, being the civilized and highly educated people we are now, those very skills have been replaced by our advanced technology. This is the mindset that secularism purports. The majority of people today believe that a true liberal arts education will get me nowhere in my future business pursuits. However, I strongly disagree. Christendom teaches students how to analyze situations and to think critically, all the while with Jesus at the center of everything. These are the assets that I wish to attain, regardless of what field of work I plan to enter upon graduation. I truly believe these skills are invaluable today, contrary to popular belief. As long as I have a solid education, everything else I can learn on the fly. What modern thinking suggests is that unless I attend school for a particular major to be specifically trained for a job I will not be successful. That statement could not be more false. People today try to reduce everything to a planned out recipe or method. Universities and colleges today train you based on what another person concluded and to follow their method. They do not foster individual thinking. Modern thought for the purpose of education today is to only know specific things that will help us to control the world in an improved manner. However, that is not what I believe a university’s purpose is. It seems to me all they, the majority of colleges/universities, do is to teach one to read and to follow a recipe. Well, a well trained student in all matters of the mind should be able to replace or to adjust the recipe accordingly to a particular circumstance or to a certain situation. They should prepare students in more than just how to read a recipe. The schools I have visited seem to have forgotten their purpose, to teach the Truth in every aspect of their curriculum. Fortunately, Christendom College is not like those other secular or quasi Catholic institutions that train one to be a mere puppet.

For me, to be able to attend Christendom, a place where young men and women are living the life Jesus calls every human being to, would be amazing. I am so tired of going to “Catholic in-name-only” schools; I am yearning for the Truth that Christendom College teaches and instills in their students. Christendom College is nothing short of a miracle in today’s world. I cannot overstate this miracle. My own experience in an Archdiocesan school system has been jarring to my beliefs and to my Faith. (Thanks be to God, that He has provided me with a strong family to counter this culture.) It is a place that offers a solid liberal arts education based in truth, and proudly acknowledges that nothing can be done without God. Christendom embraces the Catholic faith and lives it out fully, despite our popular culture. Jesus is at the center of everything at Christendom! I have witnessed that first hand.

I would consider it a complete honor to be given the opportunity to attend Christendom College. It is a school that defies society’s standards - mediocrity. For my part, I would certainly be fully engaged in all of the activities offered at Christendom. I know that I look forward to the opportunity to share my experiences and insights, to lend my opinion, and to provide my leadership skills to my fellow classmates and with my professors as well. I relish the idea of becoming a well trained defender of my beliefs and my Faith. I sometimes find myself stumbling as I defend my reasons for wanting to attend Christendom College. Basically, I bring the best I have to offer academically, spiritually, and emotionally to Christendom. Jesus did not come to earth and die on the cross, just so that we would shy away and blend into the crowd. All of us have been given special gifts and talents, but without a true relationship with God, we cannot utilize them properly as God intends us to in alignment with His plan. Saint Catherine of Sienna said, “If you are what you should be you will set the world on fire.” How true that quote is. God is calling me, a Catholic young woman, to something greater than this world has to offer. He has a destiny for me greater than I could have ever imagined. Christendom College, in my humble estimation, is one of only a few institutions in the country that understands this. By my attending Christendom, it would supply me with the necessary tools to combat the culture of death and to witness to and for the culture of life. I would use these skills I seek to acquire and to hone at Christendom in my daily life, in any capacity that serves God’s end, such as a wife and a mother, as an employee, as a parishioner, as a Catholic.

Director of Admissions
[email protected]
800.877.5456 ext. 1290

If anyone has questions about applying, visiting, scholarships, financial aid, campus life, rules and regulations, majors, core curriculum, transfer credits, or even about the food here at Christendom, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.