Anniversary Celebrations


Name: Maribel Lopez
Age: 18
Bel Air, Maryland
English or political science
Hobbies: Soccer, singing, writing.
What is your favorite class or professor?
My favorite classes have been Theology 101 and 102 with Fr. Donald Planty because it is so interesting to learn new things about the faith from someone so knowledgeable.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in? I played on the varsity soccer and participated in some intramural sports as well. The dances are also always a good time.
What's your favorite thing about Christendom?
My favorite thing about Christendom is the accessibility of the sacraments and the spiritual direction.
Why did you choose Christendom?
I chose Christendom because my parents picked it, but I am glad they did. smile
What surprises you the most about Christendom?
The amount of things to do on campus is surprising, since it is so small, but full of entertaining possibilities.
What are your plans after graduation?
Whatever plans God has in store for me.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Be open to the Christendom experience—many people make false judgments about the school, but you can never really know if it's the right fit for you unless you try it.


"Blood Money"

Last Thursday evening, Christendom’s ‘Students for Life’ group hosted a viewing of the acclaimed documentary "Blood Money," a revealing film about the abortion industry. Students gathered in St. Kilian’s Café for some refreshments and socialization, followed by the presentation of the film. The movie itself featured moving accounts of women who had abortions, as well as testimony from doctors and nurses who had performed abortions. Their stories were a definite eye opener, for though the evil of abortion is clear to all of Christendom, the true horrors were revealed in a clear and definitive way. Students were almost moved to tears by some stories told, as a clear and harsh picture of the evils and effects of abortion were revealed. In the end, students learned in full about the abortion industry, and left with a more grounded understanding of how important it is to fight the rampant Culture of Death.

Library or Cineplex

Can’t decide on what movie to watch? Luckily, with Christendom’s SAC hosting the “Three Feature Movie Night,” students were given the choice between three very different movies. Last Saturday, “The Scarlet and the Black,” “Megamind,” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” were all being shown in the basement of the St. John the Evangelist Library. Not only did the SAC reserve the entire library for the students' enjoyment, but they also provided fresh-popped popcorn and all of the candy and drinks you could find at your local theater. The night turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable one and everyone truly appreciated the variety of entertainment offered. With three great movies, how could you go wrong?

Freshmen Maribel Lopez and Kayla Newcomb grab their popcorn before they head into the movie.

Year of Faith Trivia Night

Padre Planty (college chaplain Fr. Donald Planty) added a twist to this week’s Pub Night by changing the usual karaoke night into a “Year of Faith” trivia game. While students split up to form teams of five, the rules were explained and rivalry teams were created. The game consisted of five different rounds of Catholic Trivia that Padre Planty had created himself. While the audience cheered the teams on, they were also treated to the delicious Nutella filled crepes that were being home made by Christendom’s SAC members. The night was both competitive and relaxing, as Padre Planty kept the mood high with his humorous MC-ing skills. In the end there were a few teams neck and neck, but eventually the prevailing team was rewarded with a generous prize. During this Year of Faith, it was great to see so many students come out and show their knowledge of the Faith and support of their school.

Junior Rebecca Deucher shows off her crepe making skills for the “Year of Faith” trivia Pub night.

Seniors Nick Blank and Nate Collins put on their games faces for a night of intense Catholic trivia.

Padre Planty leads the night of trivia in Kilian’s Café.

Freshman Emily Norton is excited about her Nutella filled crepe in hand.

Gala Celebrates 35 Years

On April 6, Christendom College celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a celebratory gala, which raised funds for student financial aid. Over 300 participants enjoyed an evening of fine dining and dancing, with special guests Senator Rick Santorum, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde, and former Mouseketeer Sherry Alberoni in attendance.

During the dinner, College Chaplain Fr. Donald Planty presented a special message from Pope Francis to the College:

Dr. O'Donnell also gave remarks on the occasion:

Alumni Matt and Jan Akers ('03) catch up with Dr. O'Donnell.

It was an elegant and delightful evening.

Dr. O'Donnell and his wife, Cathy, with Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen.

Senior Colleen Harmon addresses donors during a reception before the dinner.

Alumnus Mark Rohlena, CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, discusses how his liberal arts degree enabled him to excel both as a lawyer and then as the leader of a non-profit organization.

The College presented Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde with bust of Pope John Paul the Great in honor of his 25th Anniversary as bishop.

Alumna Sarah Marchand ('10) meets Sen. Santorum.

College board member John Cecconi enjoys a dance with his wife, Nancy.

Yesterday Swing Orchestra played many swingin' favorites.

Senior Peter Hill enjoys a dance with senior Emi Funai.


Capital Punishment Under Debate

On Saturday evening, the Chester-Belloc Debate Society held a meeting debating the proposition, “Capital punishment as a deterrent is just.” Society president and junior Brendan Vieira kicked off the event with a fine speech. The seniors and freshmen were particularly vocal that evening, with freshmen Kevin Young, Jack Coyle, and Anna Rogers making strong points, as well as seniors Rachel Kujawa, Max Hess, Nick Weber and Matthew Camp. Both the pro and the con camps made excellent arguments for their respective stances. However, in the end, con managed to squeak out a victory with its superior arguments.

“I think that a lot of the people who were pro were confusing the motive for capital punishment and the possible effect of it,” said freshman Madeleine Deighan.

Con won by two votes.

Freshman Kevin Young voices his opinion on capital punishment as a deterrent.

Freshman Sean Shanahan poses a question.

Senior Matt Camp gets up to speak.

Divine Mercy Sunday

After Mass on Sunday, the Feast of Divine Mercy, the college continued its celebrations with confessions, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and readings from the Diary of St. Faustina.

The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. According to private revelations from Jesus to St. Faustina, there are particular graces given by God on this one day of the year. Unlike a plenary indulgence, this Divine Mercy Promise of Christ is not dependent on the normal requirements of a plenary indulgences (free from detachment from all sin, including venial sin, and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father). Jesus stated that: Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300) By this is meant that one's soul is wiped clean, as in baptism. "I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy." (Diary 1109) What a great way to end the Easter Octave!

In answer to some of the misconceptions about the Divine Mercy Promise, the answer to this question may be found here: What is the difference between those special graces promised by Jesus for devout communicants on Mercy Sunday, and the plenary indulgence for Mercy Sunday devotions that was instituted several years ago by Pope John Paul II? Are they the same thing? Or are they different?

An Operatic Concert

This past Sunday evening, Christendom was treated to a stunning operatic performance by professional vocalist, Heather Roberts. Part of the Beato Fra Angelico Fine Arts Series, this event gave students a fabulous taste of true operatic talent. Throughout the night, Heather Roberts put on an extremely entertaining recital, featuring several different composers, including Christendom’s own Dr. Kurt Poterack, whose “Three Hopkins Songs” opened the recital. With exquisite warmth and sensitivity, Roberts sang sequences from an imaginative interpretation of Mary’s life, and thoughts she may have had while raising Jesus. This sequence ended with Mary following Jesus to the scene of the Crucifixion and relayed emotions that she would have had there. This part of the act was from a sequence known as “The Confession Stone.”

Ms. Roberts also sang several selections from world famous operas, such as Bizet’s Carmen, and others. In the end, Ms. Roberts received a standing ovation, and performed an encore, which was “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the musical My Fair Lady. Those present thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Roberts’ excellent voice, musical taste, warm manner, and sense of humor. It was indeed a wondrous way to end the week.

You can listen to her at

Anniversary of Chapel Dedication

On Tuesday at 11:30 Mass, the Christendom community joyfully celebrated the Solemnity of the Dedication of Christ the King Chapel. This day marked the 18th anniversary of the dedication the chapel, which was originally dedicated on April 8, 1995 by the late Jan Cardinal Schotte, John Paul II’s Secretary General to the World Synod of Bishops.

Assistant chaplain Fr. Mark Byrne celebrated the Mass, also, four special candles were lit for the occasion, one in each corner of the Chapel.

“They marked the places where the bishop consecrated the church by anointing the walls with holy oil,” explained sophomore and Head Sacristan Peter Deucher.

The chalice and paten used at the Mass were ones that had been sent to College President Timothy O’Donnell by Pope John Paul II as a gift to celebrate the original dedication.

Having a Baby

Students gathered in the Chapel crypt on Tuesday evening for another installment in the “Marriage Boot Camp” lecture series. Dr. Marie Anderson, an OB/GYN at the pro-life Tepeyac Clinic in Fairfax, Virginia, gave a talk on “Having a Baby.” She covered all aspects of the topic—from pregnancy to labor to delivery—and discussed the issue from both a man’s and a woman’s perspective.

Throughout the talk, Dr. Anderson particularly emphasized the need to trust in God and be open to His plan during the whole process of having a child. The doctor’s clear, informative and light-hearted presentation of this fascinating topic kept students laughing and gave them a good look at just what is involved in having a baby.

The Senior Thesis

Throughout their four years at Christendom, students receive numerous projects and assignments that they must complete in order to graduate. Perhaps the culmination of these projects is the Senior Thesis. Some might say that this is the pinnacle of a student’s education, for it is the project in which the student applies all that he has learned throughout the years at Christendom, and directs it towards a subject of his interest.

The normal procedure is for each student to pick a topic that they are interested in and that relates to their respective major. Then, the student picks or is assigned a thesis director from the department of the student’s major, and throughout the course of a semester, the student discusses the topic with his advisor, and writes a lengthy paper discussing and proving the point the student is trying to make. The minimum required length may vary depending on the student’s major – philosophy for example requires a minimum of 30 pages, while history and political science range from 40-45 pages. The paper is worth three credits, that a student cannot graduate without, and must defend their thesis orally to their department peers and professors.

The Chronicler asked a few seniors about their experience writing their senior theses.

Senior Sadie Bratt, a philosophy major, had this to say:

I thoroughly enjoyed writing my thesis. It was on a topic that I was very interested in, and I felt like I really gained a more in-depth understanding of the subject on which I was writing. It was very rewarding to see the project come together, and to learn new things, as well as putting all that I have studied throughout my years at Christendom into practice.

Senior Kelly Lawyer, a double major in History and Classics, had the following to say about her thesis experience:

As a double major, I have written two theses during my time at Christendom. The thesis is a wonderful project for seniors because it allows the student to put into practice all of the principles he learns in his previous four years. Additionally, the thesis project teaches students how to research and argue a position on a variety of issues. The senior thesis also gives students the opportunity to write and learn about any topic they want within their major as well as receive one-on-one mentorship from a faculty member who specializes in the area of that student's topic. All in all, I have found that the senior thesis has been a wonderful learning and rewarding experience.

Senior Nate Collins, also a philosophy major, said the following.

I really liked it. The whole process was interesting to me, which is a great thing about being able to choose one’s topic. At times, the project was tedious, but in the end, it was incredibly rewarding. All in all, I would say it was probably one of the most rewarding experiences I have had at Christendom, and I really think that my knowledge of the subject increased, and gave me a stronger foundation in the subject matter on which I wrote. Not only was it quite interesting, but I found it to be very applicable to life in general today, and for that reason alone, it was definitely worth all the time and effort that was necessary to write it.

When all is written, submitted, and defended, Christendom seniors have written something that they can be proud of, while honing their written and oral communications skills, as well as their ability to research and analyze—skills which help them succeed in whatever they do after they graduate!

All theses are bound and shelved in St. John the Evangelist Library.


Holy Week in the Eternal City


I hope you had a beautiful Triduum and are enjoying the Easter season! Experiencing Holy Week here in the heart of the Church was something none of us will ever forget. Here are some of the highlights:

A group of us went to Saint John Lateran for the Holy Thursday service, which, needless to say, was beautiful! After the procession to the repository, many of us split off to visit the altar of repose in seven churches of our choice in Rome. When we went to each church, each decorated the altar of repose in a unique, yet moving way. It was really neat to see! Personally, one of my favorite altars was the Church of Saint Alfonso, where we were pleasantly surprised to find the original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help!

On Good Friday, almost all of us climbed the Santa Scala, the Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem by St. Helen, on which Christ walked on to be judged by Pontius Pilate. We also visited Santa Croce in Jerusalem where relics of the Passion such as the nails, thorns and true cross can be venerated. They also have the finger of St. Thomas (which would have touched the wound in Christ’s side), a piece of the Good Thief’s cross, and a copy of the shroud of Turin which we were able to see. At night, we attended the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum. This year, people were not allowed to enter the Coliseum, so we all stood outside, holding our candles, praying the stations of the cross, and watching the cross travel from the Coliseum to the hill on which the Pope was seated.

On Holy Saturday, some people went on the seven church pilgrimage of St. Philip Neri led by Fr. Bergida, our chaplain, where they walked to seven churches in Rome: St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Paul outside the Walls, St. Peter’s, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, Santa Croce in Jerusalem and Saint Sebastian Outside the Walls. I heard that it was an incredible experience, and well worth it!

That afternoon, the fifteen of us who were able to secure tickets for the Easter Vigil at Saint Peter’s started to line up in the square around two. After waiting for about five hours in line (mostly in the rain!), the gates opened, and we were able to secure our seats in the Basilica. Needless to say, Easter Vigil was indescribable! Waiting in the rain for so long only built up the anticipation to see the first glimpse of the Easter flame and to hear the Gloria resound throughout the Basilica. We celebrated the beginning of Easter with a few donuts from the 24-Hour Bakery and a midnight brunch at Candia. The next morning, we attended Easter Sunday Mass in the Square and afterwards received the Ubi et Orbi blessing (to the City and to the world). The square was decorated so nicely for Easter, and the altar was completely surrounded with flowers!

On Wednesday, some of us went on an excursion to Tivoli. There, we discovered that the fountains in Villa de Este “had no water,” so we went to the Gregorian Gardens instead. Luckily, it was gorgeous! We saw some beautiful waterfalls, and had a picnic lunch there! Others decided to use the day to go to Castel Gandolfo (which is supposedly super pretty, and so that is on my bucket list to do before I leave Rome. smile)

This past weekend was a free weekend. Two thirds of us went to Krakow, Poland, which we all loved! On Friday all of us went to Auschwitz. We all agreed that it was one of the most important places we have been. Something that really impacted us was realizing that this all happened only 65 years ago. On our three hour tour of the camps, we were able to see the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe died. The beautiful, colorful candle and flowers inside his cell were a start contrast to the dark and colorless atmosphere of Auschwitz. Visiting the camp was most definitely a life changing experience for all of us.
Saturday and Sunday we explored Poland. We visited the John Paul II shrine in Krakow, saw the Wawel Castle and Cathedral (where I was so excited to see that Queen Jadwiga was buried there!), visited different churches, experienced the wonders of perogies and Polish food, saw a flash mob and a parade, went to the market, and listened to the “Hey Now.” On Sunday, which happened to be Divine Mercy Sunday, we went to the Divine Mercy Shrine for Mass and were able to venerate the relics of St. Faustina and see the original Divine Mercy painting. Though we all loved Poland, it was nice to come back to the warmer weather here in Rome (it was snowing in Poland!).

On Tuesday we went on the Scavi Tour, where we were able to walk through the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica. We walked through the necropolis, otherwise called the “city of the dead,” which was built around the tomb of St. Peter. Most importantly, we were able to see the bones of Saint Peter.

So, one of the things I have learned is to never underestimate the fact that you can find a body in any church in Rome. Sarah and I went to Trastevere a couple of days ago on a mission to find Santa Maria in Trastevere for our homework assignment, and ended up unintentionally touring most of Trastevere. We ended up visiting a couple of churches, which entailed stumbling across the incorrupt body of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, which was neat, yet startling, and visiting a couple tombs of the martyrs.

It is kind of crazy to think that we have less than a month left here in Rome. We have seen so much and have had so many wonderful experiences, yet there is still so much to be discovered!

As you are reading this, we are exploring Florence, so more on that next week!

Until next time, ciao! Have a great week!

Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica.

Easter Sunday in Piazza S. Pietro.

Swiss Guards and flowers.

The Vatican's Easter flowers.

Pope Francis processes to the altar.

Viva il Papa!

In Tivoli.

Gorgeous waterfalls in the Italian countryside of Tivoli.

In Poland - remembering the past.

At Auschwitz.


Crusaders At Bat

With 15 hits as a team the Christendom Crusaders captured a thrilling 10-9 victory in the 2nd game of Saturday’s double header against Williamson College. The Crusaders lost a 12 inning marathon in the first game 6-3 but due to the effort of Senior Short Stop Dan Mitchell, Sophomore Closer John David Speer and Freshman Slugger Nate Harrington the Crusaders could not be denied in the second game.

In the first game the Crusaders struggled to get the bats going despite the stellar pitching performance of Christendom’s Senior ace, Nick Blank. Blank struck out seven and in 9 innings only let in one earned run. Speer came in to relieve Blank and after letting in two earned runs and several defensive errors the Crusaders fell in the 12th inning.

But in the second game the story changed. The bats picked up as every Crusader who stepped to the plate had at least one hit.

“We hit better and were able to put the ball in play to make Williamson make plays," Dan Mitchell, said when asked what the key difference between the first and second game. "Plus Blank and Harrington had several big hits.”

Speer concurred with Mitchell.

“Our hitting picked up in the 2nd game which allowed us to get the win,” he said.

However, going into the 5th inning the game was far from secure. After gaining an early 1-0 advantage Williamson scored four runs in the 3rd and five more in the 4th inning. But RBI’s by the Seniors Matt Naham and Nick Blank kept the score knotted at nine going into what would turn out to be the pivotal 5th inning when Harrington would crush the ball for a critical one run go ahead home-run.

After the Crusaders took the 10-9 lead they would need to play shut down defense for the next two innings as they would not be able to score again. The Crusader defense responded, largely behind the efforts of clutch closer John David Speer. In the 6th inning it was three up and three down as the first batter grounded out to Harrington at first followed by another ground out to Blank at third base. The inning concluded with a pop out to Senior Michael Bobrowoski in center field. In the 7th inning Speer had the lead-off batter fly out to Junior Mike Arnold in right field but the second batter made it to first. With one down and a runner on first Speer slung a fast ball the middle of the plate. The Williamson batter made contact with a soft grounder to Mitchell at short-stop. Mitchell made the play at short and flipped the ball to Freshman Ryan Tappe at second base who fired it to Harrington at first to complete the six-four-three double play and earn the nail biting victory.

Senior Dan Mitchell tags the runner out at second.

Senior Pat Rose rises from the dust after scoring a run.

Junior Joe Marra rips one into play.

Senior Nick Blank delivers a fastball.

Q. There are a lot of good colleges out there, from what I can tell, and sometimes it is very difficult to tell the differences between them. I mean, I want to go to a college that is in line with the Church and does not have any heretical or anti-Catholic groups on campus, but other than that, I am unsure of what I want. Is there some easy way to figure out which college I should go to?

A. The age-old question. And there is no easy answer.

You are on the right track in that you have at least figured out one “must-have” and one “can’t have” item for your future college. Your future college “must have” fidelity to the Magisterium and “can’t have” any of these crazy groups. Again, good start, but there is still much work to be done.

You need to figure out more of these “must haves” and “can’t haves” in order to create your short list of colleges to look at. You can do this in a number of ways. Think about all the things that you might want in college: certain location, certain price, certain majors, certain extra-curriculars, certain regulations, certain opportunities, etc. Then, figure out which wants are “must-haves” versus “wants.” Then go ahead and make a list of things you don’t want in a college: certain groups, certain policies, certain types of students/teachers, certain location, certain price, certain size, etc. Then, again, figure out which ones are “can’t haves” and which ones are just preferences that won’t make or break a deal.

So, once you have your Musts and your Cants, come up with your “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” list too.

How do you even begin this type of process? Well, ask some friends, family, priests, and others, then look at the websites of these schools. Read the “About” section and mission statements. See what they are all about and determine if these schools have the same goal in mind as you do. Look over all the aspects of the website to see what kind of “feel” you get for the place.

If you like what you see initially, then maybe formulate some questions and see if any have been answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site. If not, then contact an admissions office representative and ask them as many questions as you want. If it seems to still be meeting your needs, then the next step would be to schedule a visit to the college. You can get a real sense of a place by walking around campus and meeting the students and faculty, staying in the residence halls, and even seeing how the students spend their leisure time. All very important to the “college search” process, I think.

If, after visiting, you’ve narrowed your search down to three or four colleges, maybe then ask the admissions representatives why they think that people choose their school over the others. I know that I am personally very knowledgeable about the differences between Christendom and many other faithful Catholic colleges and universities. Although most admissions counselors (and Directors) are generally biased toward the place where they work, most are doing their best to help students understand what their particular college offers and how it might differ from others. That is, they are simply trying to give you as much information as they can so that you can make a fully informed decision. Some, though, unfortunately, act like used car salesmen and do or say just about anything to get you to come to their school. You will not find that kind of attitude in the Admissions Office at Christendom, I promise.

And finally, you must pray about it. Going to this or that college will change your life forever, either for good or for bad. Many Catholic leave the faith during their college years; some “survive college” and keep the faith; others grow and mature in their faith. Much of this depends on where you go to school, who you hang out with, and what you are studying. Is it more important for you to be in a place that offers a particular degree in a not-so-Catholic environment, or are you more concerned with being in a Catholic environment with maybe a limited number of degrees? Do you want to get out of college debt-free with the having paid the least amount out of pocket, even if it means sacrificing a Catholic education, or are you willing to accumulate some debt and pay some money out of pocket to get the education you want?

These are questions only you and your family can answer. And they are very hard questions, for sure. So, in short:
  • Figure out what you are looking for in a college education;
  • Ask your trusted friends, priests, and relatives their opinions;
  • Look up the colleges/universities on the internet and give a thorough review of their mission, programs, and overall purpose;
  • Ask questions of the Admissions Office;
  • Visit your short list of schools; and
  • Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance to make the right decision!
Good luck and let me know if I can be of any further help!
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.