Cherry Blossoms


Name: Bernadette Sartor
Rome, Ohio
History with a Classics minor
Singing, playing guitar, and jumping in the Shenandoah river early in the morning!
What is your favorite class or professor?
History 102 with Dr. Brendan McGuire was amazing! He is great at teaching anything that has to do with the Crusades.It is fascinating! History 201 and 202 with Dr. Adam Schwartz would definitely be my favorite classes! Dr. Schwartz presents the information in such a way that it flows like a story - it is so easy to listen to that the time flies in that class!
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
I am in the choir, the Chester-Belloc Debate Society, I participate in the Works of Mercy program, and I really love the intramural sports!
Why did you choose Christendom?
I chose Christendom because it is very comfortable here. It fosters a great learning environment and being around other young, like-minded people is something you can't experience anywhere else. I also can't express how much I value the availability of the sacraments and having a chapel that is only a two minute walk from anywhere on campus. The chaplains here are the best ever!smile
What surprises you the most about Christendom? That everything on this campus never ceases to interest me and makes me want to participate!
What are your plans after graduation? That is for God to know and me to find out. smile
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student?
Be as balanced as possible. Obviously one should not stretch themselves too thin, but don't be afraid to jump in to new activities, even ones that are outside your comfort zone. There are so many wonderful opportunities and people here that you will never experience unless you take a chance every now and then! And above all take advantage of the availability of the sacraments!


DC's Cherry Blossoms

What better way to welcome the coming of spring than by appreciating the changes of the seasons? On Saturday, a group of Christendom students went into D.C. to do just that. The yearly blooming of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. is an event that not only marks the arrival of spring, but also attracts hundreds of people from all over. As a residence hall floor activity, students drove into D.C. to enjoy this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. After watching the annual parade, they made their way toward the Jefferson Memorial to see the gorgeous trees.

“I have always wanted to see the cherry blossoms that everyone has always raved about,” said Sophomore Bernadette Sartor. “Spending the day relaxing underneath them with good friends was a great way to experience the beautiful day.”

After picnicking under the trees, the students were able to drive into quaint Georgetown and enjoy the rest of the day getting ice cream and sightseeing.

Bernadette Sartor gets a closer look at the blossoms.

The Jefferson Memorial.

Tourists can take paddle boats out onto the Potomac River.

The Washington Monument.

Cherry blossom time 2013.

Goodbye Mr. Cookie Man

Christendom Senior John McFadden has been making about 120 homemade chocolate chip cookies every Wednesday throughout the academic year for the past 7 years. The Admissions Office has a special Ambassador Cookie Day each Wednesday, and John's cookies are the main event. Now that he is graduating and most likely moving out to Oklahoma to join the monks at Clearcreek monastery in the fall, his special knack for cooking a unique chocolate chip cookie will be heading West with him.

"One of my former Admissions Counselors, Margaret Ginski (now Margaret Kay), came up with the idea back in 2006. She wanted to reward our student amabassadors in some way, and she thought that having homemade chocolate chip cookies would be very welcomed and appreciated," says Admissions Director Tom McFadden. "And I agreed with her, so I asked my then-13-year-old son if he wanted a weekly job of making cookies. He said yes and the rest is history."

Ambassador Cookie Day will continue in the fall and although John will not be making them, one of his sisters will continue on with the tradition and use his same recipe.

Experiencing a Maronite Mass

Throughout the year the chaplaincy at Christendom offers "Faith-Filled Fun Field Trips" which feature the College chaplains leading formative excursions to nearby places of Catholic interest, including local places of pilgrimage, culture, hikes, and more. Recently Fr. Donald Planty took students to a Maronite Mass.

The Mass.

Group photo following the Mass.

Celebrating the Student Endowment Fund

This past Sunday evening, the Senior Philanthropy Board hosted its final event of the year. More of a casual gathering, this event was held at the beautiful residence of College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, and was a celebration of the high rate of participation in the Senior pledge for the Christendom College Student Endowment Fund. The night was full of camaraderie, games of corn-toss and cards, and of course a plethora of delicious beverages and refreshments. Halfway through the evening, the senior class signed and gave a custom corn-toss set to the O’Donnells as a token of appreciation for all they have done for the school during the years that they have been at Christendom.

This senior class alone has helped to raise over $21,000 for the Student Endowment fund, an amount that anyone can be proud of. It is definitely an unprecedented achievement for a class that is still at the school, and it sets the bar incredibly high for future classes that come through Christendom, and challenges them to show their love and support for the high quality education and experience that they have received at Christendom College.

Students grab some of the tasty fare.

Enjoying a game of cards on the O'Donnells' deck.

Students enjoy a game of corn-toss on the O'Donnells' new custom set.

New Debate Club Leadership

On Sunday, one of the last debates of the year was held in Regina Coeli Hall. Before the speeches began, the Chester Belloc Debate Society proudly introduced three of the newly elected students to the Troika: Junior Andrew Clark as the new Prefect of Secret Rites, Junior Matthew Marcolini as the new Secretary, and Freshman Kevin Young as the new Chairman.

The Chester-Belloc Debate Society is Christendom College's premier forum for extra-curricular intellectual self-development. Twice monthly, the Society argues topics of philosophy, theology and politics in the refined style of parliamentary debate. It forges the virtues of critical thinking, rhetorical prowess and political leadership in an atmosphere of aesthetic refinement and camaraderie. Debates are open to the entire campus. Membership is elective and is open to both students and faculty.

Alumnus Michael Strickland (valedictorian of the class of 2012) participates in the debate.

Professor Eric Jenislawski drives his point home.

Senior Sarah Halbur makes her argument.

Vatican Diplomacy

On Monday evening in St. Kilian’s Café, Christendom chaplain Fr. Planty gave a talk sponsored by the Political Science Department entitled, “Vatican Diplomacy.” Fr. Planty studied for diplomatic service for the Holy See at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, Italy, from 1996-2000, and then worked for the Vatican as the Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature for the countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, as well as the African Union.

Father gave students a history of Vatican diplomacy, and explained how the Holy See functions diplomatically throughout the world. He also provided a wealth of fascinating and entertaining anecdotes and information from his own time working as a diplomat for the Holy See. Students got a true insider’s look into what is really involved in the Vatican’s outreach to the governments of the world.

Fr. Planty kept his audience entertained and intrigued with stories from his own experiences.

Fr. Planty outlined how Vatican diplomacy works for the students.

Why Women Do What They Do

Last night, senior head RA Dan Mitchell hosted a talk for the men of Christendom College. Given by Student Life’s Miss Amanda Graf, the talk was entitled “Why Women Do What They Do.” In her presentation, Miss Graf gave some insights into the nature of women, and in what ways they are profoundly different from men. She quoted St. Edith Stein as saying that a woman’s emotions are at the very core of her being, and that God has created women with a certain emotional void that has to be filled. When filled by God, it is a very beautiful thing; however, when women try to fill this void with something else, it can make relations between a man and woman a bit confusing, especially for a man. Miss Graf also gave very useful advice to the men on how to interact with women and backed up her advice with personal stories, and tied everything back to the importance of praying, and putting God first.

"If this is done," she said, "everything else will follow naturally."

The guys cooked some hotdogs before attending the talk.

The Presence of St. Thomas Aquinas in Our Curriculum

We love St. Thomas Aquinas here at Christendom.

In keeping with the teaching of the Church, we acknowledge the essential role played by St. Thomas Aquinas in our curriculum. All our students who would pursue wisdom—both natural and supernatural—owe a special debt to the Angelic Doctor, because the truth has been set forth most clearly in his writings.

As Pope John Paul II has said:

If today also . . . philosophical and theological reflection is not to rest on an “unstable foundation,” which would make it “wavering and superficial,” it will have to draw inspiration from the “golden wisdom” of St. Thomas, in order to draw from it the light and vigor it needs to enter deeply into the meaning of what is revealed and to further the progress of the scientific endeavor.

The philosophy of St. Thomas deserves to be attentively studied and accepted with conviction by the youth of our day, by reason of its spirit of openness and of universalism, characteristics which are hard to find in many trends of contemporary thought.

—From the Address on the Perennial Philosophy of St. Thomas for the Youth of Our Times, at the Angelicum, Rome, 1979.

So the college, in trying to be one in mind and discipline with the Church in the formation of our students, is committed to a Thomistic educational policy: programs of instruction in philosophy and Sacred Theology are all taught according to the spirit, method, and principles of St. Thomas.


Rome and Beyond

Ciao! Greetings from Rome! Hope you all had a great week!

I seriously cannot believe that we started finals and have about nine more days here in Rome. Time has definitely flown by this semester, but it has always been so busy. So, what have we been doing with ourselves during our last few weeks here in Rome? Here are the highlights:

Last Wednesday, we went out for a group dinner and tried some Ethiopian food. For most of us, it was a first. Although I would not necessarily say it would be my first choice in cuisine, it was really neat to experience!

On Thursday some of us went to Trastevere to visit San Pietro in Montorio which is on top of the Janiculum Hill. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we ended up walking to the Aventine Hill where we looked through a keyhole on the gate to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta in order to see a spectacular view of the dome of Saint Peter’s. Peering through, we saw a path and bushes which perfectly frame the dome of Saint Peter’s – so pretty! It is definitely worth the trip! On the way back down we stopped by San Alessio, which was built on the site of the house where Saint Alexis lived, and San Sabino, where it is said that Saint Dominic and Saint Francis met.

This weekend was a free weekend. A good number of people went to Paris, where they visited all the famous sites: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Saint Chappelle, and the Louvre. I heard that it was a great weekend for everyone who went there! Kelsey ended up going to Monte San Angel, and saw the caves of Saint Michael, and San Giovanni Rotondo, where she was able to pray in front of Padre Pio’s tomb and tour his monastery. Her favorite part was seeing the cave at Monte San Angelo. Another group ended up going to a beach in Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy.

Angelica and I ended up going to the Campagnia region to visit our cousins who live there—it was such a great weekend! We toured the Palace of Caserta, saw the fountains and strolled through the gorgeous English gardens. We experienced authentic, Italian meals cooked by Aunt Rosario, which were some of my favorite meals here in Italy! One of the nights we went to Naples and walked along the coast and sampled some true Neapolitan pizza, which was the best pizza I have had yet!! I had my first couple shots of espresso, tasted some mozzarella buffala, and had some homemade wine. On Sunday, we had dinner with the extended family, so we were able to meet our other cousins and their children, which was so amazing! It was so neat to experience the Italian culture, and it was such a blessing to be able to meet and spend time with my family here in Italy.

On Monday Angelica, Kelsey and I went to Loreto to go to the Holy House. Besides Monte Casino, I think that it was one of my favorite places to go to outside of Rome. After a four hour train ride from Rome, we arrived in Loreto and hiked up a small hill to the Basilica of Loreto. The scenery there was absolutely breathtaking! We saw a beautiful view of the sea and the countryside of Loreto and passed by a Polish cemetery of WWII. After entering the Church of Our Lady of Loreto (which was magnificent!), we entered the Holy house, which is believed to be Mary’s house in which the Annunciation took place. It was seriously so neat! When we entered the holy house, one of the first things that we saw was the altar and an inscription above it which read: “Hic Verbum Caro Factum Est,” which means “Here the Word was made flesh” and the Annunciation window. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible it was!

Well, that is it for now. Until next time, ciao!


Fun in the sun at Ischia.

In Campagnia.

Padre Pio's confessional.

A view of Padre Pio's town, San Giovanni Rotondo.


Interview with a Crusader

This week I had sophomore Joe Walsh catch up with freshman Ryan Tappe to get his take on life as a Crusader.

´┐╝Joe: Where are you from?
Ryan: Pittsburgh

J: What sports do you play at Christendom?
R: Basketball and baseball

J: What’s the first sport you played?
R: Baseball, I played 2nd base and Shortstop

J: When did you first start playing Basketball?
R: I first started playing basketball when I was 9

J: What’s your favorite sport?
R: Baseball - it’s the first sport I ever played and my family is really into it. Also, it’s a game with a lot of strategy that constantly changes each play

J: When did you first hear about Christendom?
R: From my older brother who graduated in 2007

J: Did you consider any other colleges?
R: No not really but I had an offer to play lacrosse at Division 2 Belmont Abbey

J: Why did you choose Christendom?
R: I chose Christendom for the unique faith formation it offered and the unity of the student body

J: What do you want to major in?
R: I’m leaning toward Political Science

J: Who’s your favorite professor?
R: Professor O’Herron is my favorite because even though he is challenging and rigorous he makes class fun and interesting

J: What has surprised you the most about Christendom?
R: The amount of dances and activities we have here

J: What have you most enjoyed about Christendom?
R: Being on the sports teams and the sense of unity amongst the student body

J: Complete this sentence: The Coaching Style of Coach VanderWoude is best likened to…
R: A koala bear: He seems patient and calm but if necessary he will turn wild and vicious

J: What advice would you give to an incoming freshman athlete?
R: Don’t underestimate the competition and be prepared to work hard

Q. I've looked at the Christendom website and am very interested in some of the fine arts activities, especially theatre and the film club, but I can't find anything art related (i.e. drawing). Does Christendom offer any clubs or electives that are connected to art?

A. Christendom does not specifically have anything for artists who are interested in drawing. But, with that being said, there are some opportunities for budding artists to add to the college community. One way is to help with set design for the various theater productions we put on each year. We have a fall and spring play, as well as a mystery dinner theater, and all of these need backgrounds and sets designed. So, those who can draw and paint are most welcome to lend a hand.

Additionally, we do offer a variety of guilds each fall semester, and one of these guilds is an art guild (some of the other guilds offered this past fall were cooking, landscaping, electricity, iconography, and wood working). The art guild was run by local artist, Henry Wingate (, and students were given the opportunity to improve their drawing and painting skills over the course of the semester. These guilds are extra-curricular, and have an added cost to them as well.

Other than those venues, sometimes we have an art show in the library where students and faculty/staff can enter their works of art (photography, drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc) for all to see.

So, although art and drawing are not part of the actual curriculum, hopefully you can see that there are still opportunities for people to grow in their abilities and for them to use their God-given talents for the betterment of the college community.

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.

Cannibals, Sundaes, and Cursed Monks, Oh My


Name: Mark Turner
Fredericksburg, VA
Major: History
Hobbies: Spending time outdoors, chilling with friends during this awesome time in my life as a young adult, and running.
What is your favorite class or professor?
History is my favorite subject here at Christendom and Dr. Adam Schwartz's HIST 202 course has been amazing. It has helped me see the relation of my English and Political Science classes within the historical context of the early-modern to modern (1750-2000 A.D.) time we are studying.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in? I am a member of the Student Activities Council (SAC), Students for Life, Manager of Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop, and play intramural sports and varsity soccer.
What's your favorite thing about Christendom? The formation is my favorite thing about Christendom. Learning the ability to relate and communicate with others intelligently, grow in one's faith, and be surrounded by amazing people constantly who help you to strive for wisdom, truth, and beauty. This formation will be invaluable when I leave Christendom and enter the working world. The opportunities that one has here to train oneself to be the light of Christ to the world is an essential aspect of every Christian who wants to actively live in the world and spread the Truth of Christ.
Why did you choose Christendom? I originally was convinced to come to Christendom by my mom. I wanted to start at a strong Catholic College but I did not know if Christendom was the right place. I don't think that I could have made a better decision than to have come here.
What surprises you the most about Christendom? The opportunities we have to let our talents and gifts really be implemented for the betterment of society are surprising. I am still amazed at the number of things that a student can participate in if they prioritize and plan. It is a great problem to have - too many good things offered to keep you out of trouble!
What are your plans after graduation?
I am considering either Physical Therapy or business school and, in either field, the ethical, moral and spiritual training I am receiving here at Christendom will assist me.


Swing 'n Sundaes Dance Competition Great Success

On Sunday evening, students filled the Commons to watch the Swing 'n Sundaes swing dance competition. Four talented couples competed and, all four performed fantastic routines that aroused a lot of cheers and gasps from the appreciative audience. Dr. Cuddeback, Dr. Flippen, and Dr. Poterack acted as judges for the event. Senior-junior duo Theresa Lamirande and James Ciskanik snatched first place with a perfectly coordinated dance. Coming in second were Freshmen Maribel Lopez and Nate Harrington, whose acrobatic routine astounded everyone. Sophomore Andre Moreau teamed up with freshman Sarah Furth to give a delightful, energetic performance, and Freshmen Robert Johnson and Cecily Lowe took an Honorable Mention for their elegant dance.

After the competition, participants and attendants enjoyed the usual treat of ice cream sundaes. Couples then took to the floor for some fun, free-style swing dancing, inspired after all the great performances they’d seen. Swing 'n Sundaes is a student run group, with Freshman Catherine McFadden as President and Associate Director of Admissions Zac Inman as Moderator, which provides the students with the opportunity to learn how to swing dance and to have more opportunities to swing dance on campus. All students are welcome to attend the Swing 'n Sundaes events throughout the year.

Below is a video of the winning couple, James Ciskanik and Theresa Lamirande. Enjoy!

Even the Cannibals Enjoyed Mystery Dinner Theater

Last weekend, the Senior Class of 2013 presented the annual Mystery Dinner Theater, a mystery play put on by the students in order to raise money for the senior class gift. Combined with a delicious dinner, the play always involves interaction of the players with the audience, so the audience can gain clues about who the killer might be, and then turn in their guess for a chance to win a prize of $200. This year’s play was written by Senior Eric Maschue and Junior Katie Shannon, and was highly successful as always, raising over $6,000 for the senior class.

A number of students really thought that this year's production was the best they had seen years. The play, entitled "Murder Island," took place at a small island hotel. The play included such dynamic characters as a senator and his wife, cannibals, a rich entrepreneur, business men, a lucky Irishman, and a redneck detective. Throughout the night, the brilliance of the script had the audience in fits of laughter, as the story unfolded, and revealed to all the guilty party. Viewers went home happy and full, satisfied with the money they had spent on a night of great entertainment and cuisine.

The locals get a little restless.

These two servants have big motives for killing someone.

Lucky Irishman gets out of a life-threatening situation.

A great cast for this year's Mystery Dinner Theater production.


Students Enjoy Hearing Vatican Radio Director's Stories

As part of Christendom College's Major Speakers Program, Sean Patrick Lovett, Vatican Radio’s director of English language programming, delivered a deeply insightful talk on April 15 about some of his many intriguing life experiences working so closely with Pope Francis and his four predecessors over the past 35 years.
Lovett, a native of South Africa, has had his finger on the pulse of the Vatican since arriving in Rome 35 years ago and taking a position with Vatican Radio as a reporter. He has covered many Vatican-related events with Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, and has traveled with a number of the Holy Fathers on their pilgrimages across the world.

In his talk, Lovett explained that each of the past pontiffs has added something very important to the role of Vicar of Christ, and taught him something unique.

When asked by student Peter Hill what the greatest thing a pope had ever said to him was, Lovett told this little story.

Lovett had been working with Vatican Radio to broadcast the Pope's Easter Mass and message to the world, and once that was finished, everyone began packing up their gear and getting ready to depart. Since Lovett had not had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis yet, he took that opportunity to be introduced to the Holy Father who immediately said to him, in English, "Have you had lunch yet?"

According to many reports, the Holy Father is not all that well versed in English, so Lovett was surprised to hear Pope Francis ask him about such a seemingly small detail as lunch, in English no less. Then the Holy Father told him to go home and have lunch and to have a blessed Easter, again, all in English.

Monk's Curse in the Sacred Grounds

On Thursday evening, the Sacred Grounds Coffee shop in the library was packed with students who had come to listen to history professor Michael Kelly give a talk entitled “The Curse of the Monks.” Professor Kelly, whose specialty is sixteenth and seventeenth century England, focused his lecture on a supposed curse that was believed to have fallen on certain aristocratic English families who lived in old monasteries taken from religious orders during the reign of King Henry VIII. The material that Professor Kelly lectured on was also part of his dissertation, which he is working on to attain his PhD. The audience enjoyed the delicious refreshments that were served, and was captivated by the fascinating commentary that Professor Kelly made on his topic.

On another related note, it was also announced this week that Professor Kelly has been hired full-time as an Assistant Professor of History for the 2013-14 Academic Year. He had been on a one-year appointment to the College this year, and has recently accepted the full-time position offered to him. Welcome to the family, Professor Kelly!

A Personal Education with Professors as Teachers, Mentors, and Friends

Students at Christendom College are blessed not only to have a comprehensive Liberal Arts education, but also a very personal one as well. The professors at Christendom take a unique and personal interest in each and every student that is rarely found in other schools.

Christendom’s smaller setting and student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1 provides the perfect environment for a more intimate class setting and more one-on-one interaction between professors and students. There are no teacher’s assistants giving lectures, ensuring that students always receive the best presentation of the material possible from their actual professors.

Christendom professors go out of their way to make sure that each one of their students really grasps the concepts they learn in class. Each professor holds regular office hours every week. During this time students can receive extra help in an area where they might be struggling, or get questions from a previous class clarified. And it’s not an uncommon sight to see students simply dropping in to a professor’s office to have a fun chat.

“The professors are easy to visit—they’re friendly and always willing to help,” says sophomore Sarah Jamieson.

An education at Christendom means not only learning academic truths, but also forming the entire person, body and soul. Teachers encourage their students to develop their social and spiritual lives as their intellectual life. Professors get involved in school life, acting as mentors, coaches, advisors for students clubs and chaperones for mission trips. They engage in both casual and intellectual conversations with their students outside of the classroom, over the lunch table and in formation talks, as well as at athletic events and dinners at their homes.

Students are truly able to see in their professors how the things that they learn can be applied to every day life.

There is no doubt that Christendom students are immersed every day in a rich academic atmosphere where their professors take a deep interest in their well-being and academic success. In such a personalized setting, it’s no wonder that the students at Christendom thrive intellectually.


The Beautiful Cities of Florence and Venice


So last week I promised to tell you a bit about our trip to Florence, so here it is!

On Thursday we left Rome early to take a four hour bus trip to Florence. Once there we checked into our hotel and headed out to the Ganzo Culinary School for a fabulous meal! All of us agreed that it was one of the best (if not the best) meal we have had here in Italy yet! We then toured Florence, where we saw the house of Dante and the Duomo, which has a truly wonderful rendition of the Last Judgment. That afternoon the majority of us attended Mass at San Minato, a Benedictine Abbey, which has a spectacular view of Florence! The rest of the evening was spent exploring, (some of us passed by the house of Michelangelo which was pretty cool), while others went shopping.

The next morning, we went to San Marco, which was once a Dominican Monastery but has now been converted into a museum, to see the frescoes of Fra Angelico. We saw Fra Angelico’s famous Annunciation, and were able to visit the cells of the monks to see the frescoes which Fra Angelico had painted for each one. It is said that every time Fra Angelico painted the crucifixion, he cried. We then toured the Uffizi gallery where we saw many famous works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Cimabue and more! That afternoon was free until it was time to leave, so most of the remaining time was spent at the San Lorenzo Market and discovering the hidden talents of some people with bartering.

When it came time to leave, a handful of us decided to extend our trip outside of Rome. Some stayed in Florence for an extra day while another group of us decided to travel to Padua and Venice. On Friday, Angelica, Steven Miller and I went to the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua where we were able to pray by his tomb and see his incorrupt tongue. A really neat experience which happened to us there was that we stumbled across a beautiful church close to the basilica which has the tomb of St. Luke there! It was a pretty neat surprise! That afternoon we took a train to Venice and meet up with Veronica and Ashlynn who had already been in Venice for a day.

Venice was beautiful! The side streets are so cute and small, and I loved seeing the small little canals-it was definitely a very picturesque city. Although I did not have the chance to ride in a gondola (maybe next time), we did take a water taxi which was pretty exciting! Besides exploring the streets of Venice, we visited the church of Saint Lucy where we were able to see St. Lucy’s body and the Basilica of Saint Mark, but unfortunately we were unable to walk around it as Mass was being celebrated.

This Tuesday we went on last tour with Professor Lev to the Vatican Museums! We walked through the hall of maps, (which was pretty cool), saw different tapestries and many famous paintings and sculptors. The highlight of the tour though was learning about the Sistine Chapel and being able to gaze in absolute awe at Michelangelo’s work. Before we entered the Sistine Chapel, Professor Lev gave us a wonderful insight into the meaning behind each painting which we would see. One of my favorite aspects of the Chapel that Professor Lev mentioned was that of the image of the creation of Adam. She mentioned that although Adam looks as if he is leaning and stuck to the clay from which he came from, his knee is bent and his shoulder twisted. These are aspects of a runner, and so we see that there is potential in Adam. However, he can do nothing without God. In the image, God has all the momentum and He reaches purposefully and determinately towards man. Yet, Michelangelo does not paint the fingers of God and man touching-they are a millimeter apart. In the background, there is a depiction of a woman who represents Eve and the Immaculate Conception. There is a small child besides her which symbolizes the Christ Child. There is so much symbolism and imagery to be drawn by looking at the work in the Chapel-the longer you look at the frescoes the more you are filled with awe at the genius of Michelangelo and of the rich symbolism which they represent. It was also really cool to enter into the Sistine Chapel and realize that a conclave took place there less than two months ago! It was definitely one of the highlights of the semester!

Well, it has been another great week here in Rome! I hope you all have a wonderful week! smile

Art historian expert Liz Lev teaching class on the go.

Looks almost Disney-esque.

The group in Florence.


Crusaders Complete Perfect Season

The men's rugby team completed a memorable and perfect 2013 season with a tough 28-14 victory over the Lions of Lord Fairfax this past Saturday. Due to the long winter and the spacing of the spring semester breaks, the Crusaders hadn’t seen action since their impressive win over George Mason University in late March. Standing with a 3-0 record for the year, the team put their undefeated season on the line in the last game of the season and last match for the seniors.

Despite numerous odds, including major ankle injuries to James Hannon and Patrick Audino who gave gutsy efforts anyway, and the Lions having a clear size advantage, the Crusaders were not phased. Freshman Rob McKay got the ball rolling as he rumbled through would-be tacklers to score the first try of the game. Not enough can be said for the forwards of the Crusaders who, despite being outsized by close to 50lbs in some positions, stemmed the tide and didn’t allow the Lions to gain any interior momentum. Peter Spiering, Conor O’Donnell, Ben Scrivener, Dean Dewey, Hal Kokes, Bobby Crnkovich and Rob McKay stood strong the entire game, bending sometimes but at no point breaking. Senior Dean Dewey put in a stellar performance during his last game in a Christendom jersey, dragging tacklers for long gains. He powered his way into the try-zone for the 2nd Crusader try. After Sean Salmon made the point after (in total he was 4-4 on the day) the battled Crusaders led 14-0 at halftime.

The 2nd half saw the tide of momentum turn a bit as the Lions began to impose their size and will on the Crusaders and scored their first try when their flanker sprinted and danced down the sideline for a score. After John Hebert broke his arm in the first five minutes, the Crusaders were left with just one sub, a fact that can’t go unnoticed in such a demanding and grueling game. With the Lions on the board, they drove toward their try-zone again and again…only to be pushed back by the determined ruggers of Christendom again and again!

“One of the main reasons for our success on Saturday was the relentless goal line defense. There were 2 or 3 times we were able to keep them out of the try-zone, despite them being within a few yards. Our defense definitely came to play,” noted Junior Ben Scrivener.

The Lions drove the ball to within 10 meters of the goal line and had multiple runs and passes trying to break the defenses of Christendom but no break was to happen. The Crusaders, calling out encouragement and strategy, would come up time and time again with key tackles and solid defensive play to repel the Lions and regain possession and field position.

With nerves running thin and emotions playing a bigger and bigger role in the game the team got a huge boost as Bobby Crnkovich broke through the Lion’s defense for another try to add a little bit of breathing room and grow the lead to 21-7. Lord Fairfax would push back again and got the ball outside to their winger who did the rest, seemingly untouchable, he dodged and cut all the way into the try-zone to cut the lead to 7 with just 8 minutes to play.

The final 8 minutes of the game was the epitome of the entire season for the Crusaders. Despite being tired, injured and out-sized, the team bonded together as they had done all season, and even before the season with workouts, and as a unit put the nail in the coffin. After the Crusaders had taken possession of the ball Tommy Salmon passed to Audino who, despite being limited due to his ankle injury, made two beautiful cuts before tossing a pass to fellow freshman Sean Salmon just before Audino was tackled. Salmon then broke a couple of tackles and the rest was icing on the cake as he sprinted into the try-zone for a score. He then banged through the point after, putting the score at 28-14, and the final whistle sounded, ending the game and a perfect season for the Crusaders.

“It was a very strong win and our closest game yet but the guys toughed it out, despite injuries, to finish an undefeated season,” said first year and undefeated head coach Theo Smith.

With this victory the team completed the first undefeated season in Christendom sports history and hopefully not the last.

Below are some pictures from the season.

The history making undefeated Crusader Rugby Team 2012-2013.

James Hannon had an awesome year and will be missed next year.

Senior Rob Hambleton is a beast.

The team always ends its games with prayer.

Coach Theo looks on as his boys thrash their opponents.

Q. Whenever I talk about my desire and interest in attending Christendom, the same question keeps coming up, over and over and over again. Besides the fact that people cannot seem to be able to pronounce the name of your school properly (they say something like Christiandom usually), this is the biggest question that comes up: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH A DEGREE FROM CHRISTIANDOM?

A. And here is my easiest and most frequent answer to that question: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH A DEGREE FROM CHRISTENDOM? Because the truth is, you can do anything you want. Sure, you say, that sounds good on paper, but what does it mean in reality. How can someone for example, with
  • A theology degree become a restaurant manager?
  • An English major become a partner with Pricewaterhouse Coopers?
  • A philosophy major become a chief software architect for IBM?
  • A political science major end up as the Vice President of Finance for Sirius XM Radio?
  • A history major working as the CEO of his own construction company?
  • A classics major begin working as an information assurance engineer at SRA International?
  • The short answer is, our graduates do this type of thing all of the time. Our graduates get jobs outside of the field of their study very easily because they are seen as very adaptable people, eager to learn, easy to train, and once on the job, they move ahead very quickly. There are many that say they do not believe that this is possible and that, in order to get ahead in life, one has to get a specific degree in a very specific field.
Christendom grads are employed in just about every field possible. We have alumni who have degrees in philosophy who are financial analysts and teachers. We have alumni with history degrees who are marketing professionals and officers in the military. Theology majors are now electrical engineers and computer software programmers. We have alumni who are doctors, lawyers, physical therapists, accountants, managers, nurses, educators, salesmen, graphic artists, editors, entrepreneurs, project managers, tradesmen, builders, carpenters, priests, religious, music teachers, art directors, drama teachers, missionaries, real estate agents, insurance salesmen, architects, dentists, college professors, Montessori teachers, computer scientists, and everything in between. Here is a longer list of what some of our alumni have done and where they have gone to grad school.

Additionally, Christendom has a full-time Director of Career Development, Mr. Mike Mochel, and he is very helpful to our students as they discern their career choices throughout their years at Christendom. His focus is on helping students figure out what types of employment they might enjoy, which grad schools they might wish to attend, and helping them be prepared for their jobs by aiding them with interview skills and resume writing. His office is located in our Student Center and his door is always open.

The liberal arts education that Christendom offers is good and useful in and of itself, but it also makes our graduates very employable. Our graduates are easily able to adapt to an ever-changing work environment and they have all the most sought-after skills, as evidenced by the following information:
  • Liberal arts students advance more quickly to middle and senior management positions than their colleagues who pursued other fields of study . . . these graduates become employees that are ready to learn (AT&T Management Study).
  • The liberal arts are more effective in teaching communication skills, general knowledge and information, an understanding of people, an appreciation of ethical concerns, an ability to organize and prioritize, and vital leadership skills (Fortune 500 study).
  • Business leaders value liberal arts grads for their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong writing and speaking skills, self-discipline, exposure to diverse ideas, and global perspective (Hobart & William Smith Colleges study).
  • Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have – and also the one most lacking among job applicants (Poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).
  • A broad liberal arts education is preferred for future CEOs – blending knowledge of history, culture, philosophy, and economic policy, with international experience and problem-solving skills (The Wall Street Journal).
  • Employers focus on finding graduates with the right skills rather than the right major, as a new employee with the right skills can easily learn the specifics of an industry. Employers desire transferable skills, skills employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace – and these are characteristic of a liberal arts education (Survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers).
As you can hopefully see from some of the facts stated above, there is no real need to get a specific major in a very specific field in order to get a decent job after graduation. What is important is that you become educated while in college, not trained, so that you can be adaptable and more able to work in a wide variety of fields. So, please, make sure the next time someone asks you this question, you answer the following: First off, it is called Christendom, not Christiandom. Secondly, with a degree from Christendom, I can do anything I want, and I can show you proof if you want. smile

God bless 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.

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.