Discerment Weekend


Name: Steven Wood
Auburn, California
Reading, conversing with friends, singing, camping, hiking
What is your favorite class or professor?
All of the classes at Christendom are awesome--it is staggering to see how much I've learned from the great teachers here. That said, the two that stand out most are Dr. O'Donnell's classes. I took his History of the Ancient & Biblical World my freshman year, and his confidence and dynamic teaching inspired me and my friends to be great students. Last spring, his Ascetical & Mystical Theology made holiness exciting and attainable. Every student knows Dr. O'Donnell as college president, and it is even more enriching to have him as teacher!
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
I am a member of the Legion of Mary, a group that focuses on evangelization and the spiritual works of mercy. I am also a tenor in the school's choir, and a member of Students for Life. As a tutor in the college's writing center, I get to talk with students about their ideas and give writing advice.
Why did you choose Christendom?
In high school, I had the opportunity to visit Christendom; even though I was here for less than 24 hours, I knew that Christendom was the school for me. The college community is incredible, and you meet people who are really striving to be saints--genuine, funny, down-to-earth, and the best friends you will ever have.
What surprises you the most about Christendom?
I was most surprised at how much there is to do! Bring a seatbelt when you come, and be prepared for an incredible four years!
What are your plans after graduation?
I would like to teach. After learning so much at Christendom, it would be a shame not to pass it on.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student?
No matter what school you choose (and I hope that it's Christendom), put your whole self into life at college. You will make more friends, learn more, grow closer to God, and have more fun than you thought possible!


Shield of Roses

On Saturday, February 16, twenty-five Christendom students were joined by staff and visitors in prayerful protest against abortion at Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C. The group, which garnered its largest attendance last year at the Fall Mega-Shield, travels into Washington every Saturday. The sidewalk-counselors reported that nine women decided to keep their babies.

"It was a very humbling experience," sidewalk-counselor and freshman Gabriella Federico said. "I realized how wonderful it is to be an instrument of God's grace."

Shield of Roses will hold its Mega Shield event this semester on March 16..

Sidewalk-counselor and freshman Gabriella Federico chats with one of the abortuary's escorts - Phil.

Due to construction taking place nearby, there was a question of safety, so students prayed across the street.

First Annual Career Fair

On Thursday, February 21, Christendom College hosted its first annual Career fair. Nineteen employers and companies were represented at booths set up in the crypt of Christ the King Chapel. Classes were cancelled that afternoon in order to motivate students to attend the event. Students from other colleges in the area were invited to the event as well. Overall, 219 students and alumni attended the event, which was a number that exceeded the expectations of Director of Career Development Mike Mochel.

At the event, students saw a great variety of career possibilities, and got a sense of what they may be interested in. It was also a chance to give résumés and get one’s name out into the field of employers.

“The participating organizations had high praise for the students who visited their booths,” said Mr. Mochel. “The students were praised by the organizations as being ‘well-prepared and engaged,’ and that they were ‘very impressed with the students and their questions.’”

The event was a success, and Christendom looks forward to offering this valuable resource to its students each year.

Students learn more about CUA's school of business.

Students learn about the work of the Virginia Employment Commission.

Students learn about the opportunities offered by Royal Broadcasting.

Students learn about Generation Life.

Chatting with the Marines.

Senior Dan Mitchell chats with a representative of Wells Fargo Bank.

Students learn about life as a FOCUS missionary.

College Alumnus Frank Nicely ('86) explains the joys of working at St. William of York School, where he serves as principal.

Devil Talk

Is it possible to tell the difference between someone who’s possessed and one merely suffering from psychological issues? Christendom students, faculty and staff found out Thursday night when they packed St. Kilian’s Café to hear Dr. Seguda Acosta give a talk entitled, “Diabolical or Psychological: The Differentiation of Psychological Diseases from Diabolical Disorders.”

Dr. Acosta's lecture was based off of a book that she had written by the same name. Using her sparkling wit and a wealth of anecdotes from her own personal and clinical experience as a psychologist, Dr. Acosta gave the audience a detailed and fascinating explanation of how to discern whether one is suffering from demonic possession or simply a disorder such as schizophrenia. The talk was extremely thought-provoking and everyone came away with a clearer understanding of the issue.

You can listen to this fascinating lecture at Christendom on iTunes U.


Pizza with the Padres

This past weekend, Christendom College hosted its annual discernment weekend. Religious representatives from 26 different orders showed up last Friday evening in preparation for the events on Saturday. However, before the busy schedule of Saturday began, there was “Men’s Discernment Night” in the Crusader Gymnasium. This event was a rather informal gathering open for all the priests, monks, and male residents of the college to socialize, talk, and ask questions in a laid back and comfortable setting. The night started with snacks and pizza, followed by dodge-ball, and ending with basketball. Students and religious alike gathered for a night of camaraderie, sports, and fun, while giving the male students a chance to ask any questions that they may have had pertaining to the religious life.

Students chat with visiting priests.

Dodgeball: Dominican-style.

Girl's Night Out

On Friday night the girls of Christendom College were invited to join all of the sisters visiting for discernment weekend for a “Girls Night Out” in Kilian’s. Female students were able to speak with sisters of many different orders regarding discernment and the possibilities of keeping an open heart to God's calling. Religious sisters of all ages and backgrounds came to enjoy the convocation night; enjoying good food, games, music, and tons of laughter. Not only were attendees privileged enough to hear the wisdom and stories of the sisters, but they were also able to see the fun side of the sisters, while playing a trivia game and singing for karaoke. Everyone who went to the girls night out had an amazing time and were thankful for the time spent with the wonderful sisters.

Maggie Ostrowski learns about religious life from a mother superior.

Rebecca Ortega, Amy Marter, Annie Adams, and Clare Rose pose for a shot with a sister.

Bernadette Sartor and Katie Brizek sing a humorous parody to “I Want You Back” about when your crush wants to be a priest.

Presentations and Chats

On Saturday, Mass was offered at 7:30am (in the Extraordinary Form) and again at 11:30am by various priests from the orders represented at Discernment Weekend. The morning and afternoon were filled with opportunities to visit with the religious at the various information tables set up in the St. Lawrence Commons. From 1–4 p.m., a series of one-hour break-out-session talks were held on the topics of dating, priesthood, religious life, and missionary work. Christendom alumnus Ben McMahon ('04) and his wife, Anna, gave the talk on dating and discernment; Fr. John Lugemwa, OSB, gave a talk about life in a monastery, and Fr. Brian Bashista of the Diocese of Arlington gave a lecture on discerning the call to diocesan priesthood.

Sr. Colleen Claire of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco gives a talk on “Discerning the Women’s Religious Vocation.”

A sister from the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin Matara inspires the Christendom girls with her vocation story.

Sr. Mary Loretta of the Sisters of Life gives advice about discerning a religious vocation.

A freshman spends some time with a sister from the Daughters of Charity.

A Cappella Competition

On Saturday night, the Dorm Wars A Cappella Competition took place in St. Kilian’s Café. Chaplain Fr. Donald Planty, college registrar, Walter Janaro and visiting religious Sr. Colleen Claire along with Fr. Brian Bashista judged the event. The Café filled up quickly as students packed in to hear impressive a cappella pieces sung by representatives from all eight Dorm Wars teams. The teams picked and came up with original arrangements for their songs beforehand. Performances ranged from themed medleys to popular contemporary songs.

“There were so many talented teams,” said Junior Lauren Enk. “I loved watching all the different performances—lots of variety, and lots of fun.”

Although all the teams gave amazing performances, the Ins ‘N Outs took first place followed by Team Ellect. Third place was awarded to the Three to One Lions.

The audience eagerly awaits the start of the competition.

Sophomores Maggie Kesckes, Veronica Stanton, Alexis Whitiak and senior Gloria Klosterman lead their team in the song “Titanium.”

Freshmen Maribel Lopez leads the Ins N’ Outs in a first-place performance.

Freshmen Kayla Newcomb, Katie Ellis, Suzie Curran, Cecilia Flagg, Elisabeth Roberts, and Junior Mike Arnold give an impressive rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble.”

An amazing medley performed by second-place finisher, Team Elllect: Katie Lademan, Jess and Ali Schimtz, Maggie Ostrowski, Daniel McDowell, Douglas Watson, Nick Blank, Bobby Crnkovich, Stephen Hyland, Erin Moore, Peter Deucher, and John Jackson.

Team Three to One Lions: Sadie Bratt, Connor Knox, Alicia Stanton, Anna Rogers, Eric Maschue, Mary Bratt, Colleen Harmon, Melissa Lucas, and Michaela Sanborn.

Seniors Mark Hepler and Peter Spiering team up with Sophomores Philip Gilbert, P Chuck, and Peter Foeckler to sing “The Misty Mountains.”

Swingin' on a Sunday

Ice cream and dancing…can it get any better than that? On Sunday night another Swing n’ Sundaes took place in the Sr. Lawrence Commons. Junior James Ciskanik and Freshman Catherine McFadden took charge while teaching the attendees the new dances of the night. More people continued to join the swinging as the night went on. Swing n’ Sundaes is not only beneficial for working on one’s dance moves, but it is a perfect way to take a study break and end the weekend on a high note.

Swing instructors Nicholas Blank and Catherine McFadden enjoy a dance.

The Importance of Giving

This past Sunday evening, the Senior Philanthropy Board hosted its second event in a series designed to educate the senior class in the importance of alumni giving. Held at Rappahannock Wine Cellar just outside Front Royal, the event featured presentations by students and alumni members of the Board of Directors of Christendom College, Mr. Rob Scrivener and his wife, Anne Marie, and Mr. Steve O’Keefe and his wife, Paula. The alumni explained why it is important for alumni to donate back to the school, and they gave their own personal reasons why they give to the school. Both couples said that the love they have for the college and the importance of the education that Christendom offers inspires them to donate to the school. Throughout the course of the evening, all enjoyed a delicious spread of refreshments and variety of wines from the winery.

The Scriveners explain the reasons why they give to the college.

Seniors Dean Dewey and Colleen Harmon give a presentation about what the seniors and soon to be alumni can do with regard to alumni giving.

Alumnus and Board Member Steve O'Keefe gives his testimony.

Works of Mercy

Many Christendom students take time out of their busy schedules each week to participate in volunteer and service work. The college’s many different types of Works of Mercy provide students of every interest and talent a chance to serve the less fortunate in their community.

Those wanting to get involved in the pro-life movement can pray outside an abortion clinic every Saturday morning with the group Shield of Roses, join the Students for Life club on campus, or volunteer at the Front Royal crisis pregnancy center.

Many other avenues of service are open to students looking to serve. The Meals on Wheels charity brings food to those confined to their homes. There are weekly trips to the Food Pantry, where students provide food for the hungry in the community. Another group makes visits to the elderly in the local nursing home every Sunday afternoon. Additionally, students participate in blood drives, volunteer tutoring, and of course the yearly spring break mission trips that serve the poor in countries such as Guatemala and Peru.

There is usually no obligation to commit to a particular service work for the whole school year, but many students eventually find one that they enjoy and stick with it. This was the case for Joe Walsh, a sophomore and now the Director of Works of Mercy at Christendom.

“I got involved because of the outreach of Christina Kelly, the Director of the Nursing Home, in my second semester of Freshman year,” he says. “The Nursing Home is my favorite group.”

While the spirit of service thrives at Christendom, work is constantly being done to improve and expand the Works of Mercy.

“Our plan this semester is to simply raise student awareness about the 8 groups that exist right now," Walsh explains. "But we also want to re-start the 'Hangout with the Homeless' group this semester where students will go into DC to talk with and provide food and other supplies to the homeless. We plan on having our first event for that group in mid-March.”

Through all these charitable works, Christendom students are able to use their talents to serve others and find another way to truly "restore all things in Christ."


Siena & Goodbye to Our Papa

Ciao! What a week it has been!

After leaving Assisi on Wednesday, we took a bus to Siena which is the hometown of St. Catherine of Siena. The following day, we attended Mass at the Sanctuary of Saint Catherine, (St. Catherine’s house) where we were able to pray in front of the crucifix from which St. Catherine received the stigmata. After a truly authentic Italian lunch which consisted of pizza, we were given an amazing tour of the town which included the Basilica of San Domenico (where one can find the incorrupt head and finger of Saint Catherine); Il Duomo, otherwise known as Siena’s Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Assumption; and Il Campo, the town square where the famous Palio, (the horse race amongst the different districts of Siena) takes place. Apparently, before Siena sends their horse to race, they bring the horse into the Basilica of San Domenico to receive a blessing. Interestingly enough, the horse from Siena always comes back as the winner!

One of the highlights for most of us on the trip was our visit to the Basilica of San Francesco, where one can see over 200 hosts, which have been miraculously preserved since 1730. In 1730, burglars ransacked the Basilica, taking with them over 300 consecrated hosts. When this was discovered, the people of the town searched for the hosts, finding them three days later in the poor box of a neighboring church. To this day, these hosts are still fresh and can be venerated by the faithful. We were blessed to be able to attend Mass there and then have some time of Eucharistic adoration. Adoring the Eucharistic miracle was really an indescribable experience, and it gave us all a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist.

Discovering Siena was neat! We stumbled across the hill where Saint Catherine saw the vision of Christ when she was a little girl, which was pretty cool. We found an amazing gelato place, which we definitely took advantage of and discovered the wonders of kebabs.
smile) We marveled at the architecture of the Duomo and climbed to the top, seeing the beautiful skyline of Siena. Another neat experience was touring a stained glass shop, where we learned of the different steps involved in making stained glass windows. There is so much work and detail which goes into the work—it truly is an art!

On Saturday we returned to Rome, where we were able to finally settle into our home! After some intense grocery shopping, some of us went to Saint Peter’s that night and were blessed with the veil of Saint Veronica. Sunday we had the opportunity to attend Pope Benedict’s last Sunday Angelus, which was absolutely incredible! Monday started our week of intensive Italian classes, but before we began our studies we had a private Mass at the tomb of Saint Peter, celebrated by our chaplain, Fr. Bergida.

Wednesday morning we were blessed with the opportunity to attend the last papal audience of Pope Benedict and receive his blessing. Seeing Pope Benedict for the last time was truly bitter-sweet. Although we are all saddened by the Holy Father’s resignation, we are truly blessed to have been able to see him, and are so grateful for his service to the Church for these past eight years.

So, how has it been settling into Rome? For some of us, it has been a bit harder than others, especially when we try putting fabric softener as a laundry detergent and buying cabbage instead of lettuce.
smile) Besides that, it honestly has been amazing! There is so much to see and experience in this beautiful city—it is amazing!!!

Viva il papa!

Il Duomo of Siena.

At the top of the Duomo.

Exploring Sienna.

Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square.

All smiles after seeing the pope.

Sun breaks through the clouds on what was predicted to be a rainy day.

Waiting for the pope.

Pope Benedict XVI drives by and waves to the students.

Christendom in Rome!

Check out our Rome students on CBS (0:40):


Sweet Victory for the Crusaders

About five minutes into the game, sophomore Crusader Larry Urgo touched the ball for the first time. With lightening speed, he broke free and cruised through the American University defense to score the first try of the game and set the tone for a stunning 54-5 manhandling of American University.

It was the Crusaders first game of the year and, playing in front of an energized home crowd, they crushed American University for the second year in a row.

"The consistent pressure of the offense was the key to the win," seasoned veteran and flanker Dean Dewey said after the game. "We almost never gave them possession. The speed, ball control, and better team cohesion was the critical advantage that we had."

The superior speed and ball control was on full display Saturday afternoon as seven different Crusaders scored, including Seniors Dean Dewey and Rob Hambleton, Junior Conor Knox, Sophomore Larry Urgo and Freshmen Pat Audino, Sean Salmon, and Rob McKay.

Shortly after Urgo's early score, Rob Hambleton and Sophomore Bobby Crnkovich helped the Crusaders expand the lead to 14-0, after adding two successful conversions. American University would strike back to close the lead to 14-5 but that would be the closest they would get. The Crusaders would dominate the remainder of the game, scoring 39 unanswered points.

Urgo echoed the the remarks of Dewey when asked what the greatest strength of Christendom Rugby was:

"Our speed, our offense, and the unity of our forward pack and back line led to our victory. The key difference between this year and last year is, that we have an awesome coach who really pushes us in practice, as well as a great batch of freshmen like Audino and McKay," he said.

Christendom looks to build off its successful start this Friday night as they take to the field under the lights against Hamden Sydney College.

Sean Salmon (of Ireland) goes down field for the try.

Make way for Bobby Crnkovich!

Pat Audino flies past the opposition. Audino is one of this year's Thomas S. Vander Woude Athlete-Scholar Scholarship recipients. His high school team won the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union state championship last year.

Dean Dewey charges down field.

Ben Scrivener reaches high to claim the ball for the Crusaders.


Q. Since you seem to know a lot about many things, do you know who the next Pope is going to be? Just kidding. I did want to know, though, a little more about what makes your various academic departments distinct from other colleges. Is there some way you can explain this to me?

A. My bet is on Angelo Cardinal Scola of Milan, Italy, but what do I know. If I were picking, I'd maybe try and pick one of the many Cardinals who have been here to visit our campus: Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Raymond Burke, or Cardinal Francis Stafford. But, I'm still sticking with Cardinal Scola of Milan.

So the answer to your real question is that our academic departments are different from others for a variety of reasons. First, the caliber of our professors is just amazing. They come to Christendom because they want to be teachers first, not book writers or traveling speakers. Many colleges hire great names in the academic world, but these people quite often end up focusing on their own careers and doing what they can to gain notoriety through writing book after book after book. And sometimes, this means that they spend less time focusing on teaching, and their students. Christendom professors are hired to be teachers and to care about their students, both, in and out of the classroom. So this is one of the big differences.

Secondly, the requirements necessary in order to gain a degree in our various academic departments is quite unique. Many colleges require very little theology, or philosophy or history if you want to major in political science, and if you want to major in classics, normally, people do not have to take very much political science or history or math. At Christendom, everyone takes a solid core curriculum before splintering off into their academic major and focusing on one subject area. Our political science majors all have taken 6 philosophy classes, 6 theology classes, 4 history classes, 4 language, 4 English classes, one math, one science, and two core political science courses. In fact, all of our departments require these same subjects. So, as a result, our historians are well-versed in other subjects, as are our theologians and philosophers, etc.

Third, our departments teach all of their subject matter with a Catholic worldview, whenever possible. We do not keep theology or the Faith solely in theology class, but rather, we bring it into discussion in all of the subject areas, when appropriate. As a result of this style of teaching, it is very important that all the professors in all of the disciplines be practicing, committed, faithful Roman Catholics - which they are - otherwise, they would not be able to teach their subject matter from a Catholic perspective.

Fourth, all of our departments focus on writing. Why is this important to mention? Well, the ability to write well - clearly, succinctly, and convincingly - is the sign of a well-educated person. In all walks of life, writing is key: Synthesizing a bunch of ideas and putting into a one-page report; collecting ideas and inputs and then creating a proposal for a new way of doing something; or researching your competitive market and coming up with a new plan that you can "sell" to your employer to aid the company get ahead, etc. At Christendom, we do not simply write papers in English class, but in all of our classes. We write and we write a lot.

Fifth, each department emphasizes the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas when possible (especially in theology, philosophy, and political science) and, quite often, history plays a vital role in many of our classes (history, theology, philosophy, political science, in particular).

On a final recommendation, why not take a look at some of our very short videos about each of the academic departments. The professors do a great job of explaining why you might want to study in their department.

English Language & Literature
Political Science & Economics
Classical & Early Christian Studies

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.