Habemus Papam!

This issue is dedicated to our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. Viva il papa!


Name: Marilyn Charba
Robstown, TX
Drawing, Cooking, Reading
What is your favorite class?
The Reconquista and the Crusades with Dr. Brendan McGuire.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
Set design/painting for the Christendom plays, Intramural Soccer, Powder Puff, St. Luke's Art Club, and volunteering in Kilian's Café.
What is your favorite thing about Christendom?
Apart from the easy access to the sacraments, and the great classes, my favorite thing about Christendom would be the fact that it has become like a second home to me.
Why did you choose Christendom?
As far back as I can remember I have always planned on coming to Christendom because my parents both went here back in the day. But when I first visited in 2008 I really became attached to the idea of being surrounded not only by such a Catholic curriculum but also people and professors who share the same beliefs that I do.
What surprises you the most about Christendom?
Before I came to Christendom, I took for granted the idea that there would be so many great people surrounding me. I have been lucky enough to form great relationships with students, faculty, and staff.
What are your plans after graduation?
I still have a year to decide for sure what I want to do but I am looking forward to taking the teaching practicum that Christendom offers to see if that is what God is calling me to do.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student?
My advice would be to come and visit during the school year to see what the school is really like and also just to pray about what your vocation is in life and discern whether Christendom is meant for you.


Habemus Papam!

The entire Christendom College community welcomed the joyful news of the election of Pope Francis. The bells of Christ the King Chapel rang throughout the afternoon on March 13 in celebration of the election of the new Supreme Pontiff. College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell was in Rome for the papal conclave and election providing voiceover coverage for Vatican TV and Radio as well as appearing as a guest on EWTN’s live programing from Rome.

“We are overjoyed at the election of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church,” O’Donnell said upon the news of the election. “It was an unforgettable experience to be in St. Peter’s Square and to be with him and to pray with him and for him in a moment of silence amidst hundreds of thousands of people. His humility and deep prayer life will surely enable him to bear the great responsibility of the office. We pledge our loyalty to him and unite ourselves to him in prayer for a pontificate filled with abundant blessings.”
Students participating in Christendom’s Junior Semester in Rome were also there for the election, read more about it in the Rome Report. Students, faculty, and staff welcome the new pope via EWTN in the John Paul the Great Student Center. College chaplains Fr. Donald Planty and Fr. Mark Byrne each celebrated a Mass for the Election of a Pope on March 11. Masses for Pope Francis were celebrated on March 14 and March 15.

The college has always boasted deep affection for, not only the office, but also the person of the Holy Father—past and present. The entire Christendom community offers prayers of thanksgiving and for the intentions of Pope Francis as he leads the Church further in the new evangelization of the 21st century.

Classes cancelled, faculty and students wait for the pope in the lower level of the John Paul the Great Student Center..

Students cheer as Pope Francis walks onto the balcony.

Student pray with Pope Francis.

Reviewing Prose & Poetry

On Thursday evening, students and faculty gathered in the Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop of the library for an evening of literary review. Attendees brought favorite books, either from their childhood or the present, and gave brief presentations on them. Several of the participants not only provided summaries of their books, but also read some short passages from them to give everyone a taste of the writing style.

A wide selection of books was presented, reflecting Christendom students’ varying and interesting literary preferences. Some of the books reviewed during the course of the evening included, Make Way for Ducklings, The Little Prince, and, “The Glass Menagerie.” Faculty and students enjoyed plenty of snacks and lots of laughter as they learned about each other’s treasured books.

Students listen attentively as Mrs. Krebs gives a review of Make Way for Ducklings.

Senior Cate Thomas reads from The Little Prince.

Music Around the Fire

Last Friday night in the glade behind St. Catherine Hall, SAC held a bonfire for all students. As sophomores Peter Foeckler and Bobby Crnkovich kept the fire burning, students enjoyed the many refreshments provided by the Student Activities Council. Both students and visitors enjoyed each other’s company and contributed to the entertainment of the night. While guitars and ukuleles were played, singing could be heard around campus.

“It’s great to share in each other’s talents,” said sophomore Katie Brizek. “Singing around a bonfire with friends is a great way to spend a night.”

Soon the singing bonfire transformed into a game of dares, as St. Catherine’s glade was filled with laughter and camaraderie. Everyone is looking forward to another bonfire as the warmth of spring comes to Virginia and encourages everyone to come out and enjoy themselves!

Sophomore Julie Wells treated everyone to her rendition of “Traveling Soldier.”

Spring Mega Shield

Christendom College’s pro-life student group, Shield of Roses, held its largest spring semester pro-life prayer protest at the Planned Parenthood clinic located on 16th Street in Washington, D.C., this past Saturday, March 18. Approximately 120-140 students, faculty, staff, visitors, and friends prayed four rosaries and sang a number of Marian and religious hymns in front of the abortion clinic, while the “pro-choice” escorts looked on.

The group protests at this same clinic each Saturday morning during the academic year, but normally only around 20 students make the trek into D.C. on a weekly basis. Once a semester, however, the group's leadership organizes what it calls a "Mega Shield" event and encourages as many of the members of the College community as possible to participate. Last semester, Mega Shield drew as many as 240 students.

A reflection on Shield of Roses from senior and sidewalk counselor Sara Federico:

After praying about it extensively, I became a sidewalk counselor in order to help women in desperate situations make a decision that will undoubtedly impact them negatively for the rest of their lives. I realized that they're in the crucial final moments before making a life-altering decision whenever I speak to them. If I don't talk to them, maybe no one else will. I always just pray that the Holy Spirit can speak through me and they hear what they need to hear. The way I look at it, even if I spend all four years saving even just one life, every minute of it has been worth it. I love Mega Shield because it's a great opportunity for the student body to become re-energized in the pro-life movement. The other counselors always tell me how uplifting it is to see the many friendly faces of Christendom College students there praying. Additionally, I think it offers a great witness to every person that walks by. Even if they only are passing by on their way to work or to sight-see, the fact that a hundred or two hundred young people are standing out in the cold on a Saturday morning in order to witness to the sanctity of life and demonstrate love and support toward strangers must be a moving sight. I know that some people walking by at this past Mega Shield made bitter remarks against us, and their comments were likely filled with pain that they were experiencing, as well. I wish they could know that we're praying for them, too! Other people who walked by said that they were encouraged by us; we even received a donation from someone passing through! The Lord is definitely working through Christendom students to change the culture and Shield of Roses is one fantastic way to go about achieving our mission!


Check out the video by senior John McFadden:

A Festive St. Patrick's Day

If you are even nominally Irish, and have some sort of connection to Christendom College, you were probably in the St. Lawrence Commons last Saturday night for the annual and highly anticipated St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The evening started with a traditional Irish meal made by Chef Dennis and the rest of the Kitchen Staff. Following dinner, the ceremonies began with an opening prayer by native Dubliner Fr. Mark Byrne, and a procession of the Hibernian Guard accompanied by bagpipes. The night was filled with live performances of traditional Irish songs, led of course by College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, along with performances of classic Irish dancing. Professor Ray O’Herron sang his rendition of “Four Green Fields” as he has done for 25 years in a row now, and History professor’s Dr. Chris Shannon and Dr. Brendan McGuire also contributed to the night’s program. The festivities filled the entire evening, and—with the help of some famous Irish beverages—students, faculty, and families alike shared in the joy of celebrating the Saint’s day, and their strong Irish Catholic background. Anyone and everyone was Irish, as the school united in celebration of its cultural background.

Students enjoyed the traditional Irish fare.

St. Patrick blesses chaplain Fr. Mark Byrne of Ireland.

History Professor Dr. Brendan McGuire reads the Easter Proclamation of 1916.

Founding Professor Ray O'Herron sings "The Four Green Fields" with Dr. O'Donnell.

Senior John McFadden and his sisters, Catherine (a freshman) and Maria, sing "The Fields of Athenry" with their brother Dominic on guitar.

Kellie Rankin, Kaitlin Kelley, Micah Miller perform an Irish medley.

The Hibernian Guard.

Sophomore Peter Foeckler jumps up during an Irish dance.

The Clansmen lead the audience in song.

Daughters of Admissions Director Tom McFadden perform an Irish dance.

Singin' songs of rebellion.

Regatta & Closing Ceremonies

Dorm Wars 2013 came to a close this past Sunday with the final competition being held, followed by the closing ceremonies and the award of the trophy to the winning team. Though it was a chilly and wintery day, the Regatta was held. Several participants braved the weather and attempted to row cardboard boats back and forth across the Shenandoah River. Out of four contestants, two made the trip successfully, the winner being the “Ins ‘n’ Outs,” who with that victory, clinched first place in the over-all Dorm Wars competition. After this event, the participants and spectators convened at the gym for refreshments and the actual awards ceremony. Residence Director James Hannon presided over the event, and after a brief acknowledgment, he presented the official Dorm Wars trophy to the “Ins ‘n’ Outs” team representative, Senior Mike Bobrowski. it was a great wrap up to this year’s Dorm Wars competition.

The second place team, “The Elllect,” display their boat before the race.

The three placing teams begin the race across the river.

Coming back across the river for the home-stretch.

Residence Director James Hannon passes the Dorm Wars trophy to “The Ins ‘n’ Outs” representative Senior Mike Bobrowski.

“The Ins ‘n’ Outs”: Proud winners of Dorm Wars 2013.

Pasta and Bread: Celebrating St. Joseph

Christendom students celebrated St. Joseph’s Day in grand style on Tuesday evening at dinner. St. Lawrence Commons was decked out in flowers and brightly colored tablecloths, while lively music filled the air. A short procession with the statue of St. Joseph preceded the meal, and then students sat down to a delicious Italian feast.

“The special dinner with the procession beforehand really added to the day to honor St. Joseph and helped add to the celebration,” said sophomore Peter Stephens.

From the homemade Italian bread to the gelato, there was plenty of food and everyone enjoyed eating their fill. The dinner and the festive atmosphere worked together to create a fun-filled dinner that everyone loved. Special recognition was given to senior Sara Federico, who ran the event and assisted the kitchen in providing authentic Italian recipes.

Head Chaplain Fr. Donald Planty blesses the bread.

Students grab some gelato and Italian pastries.

Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! Students enjoy the food.

St. Thomas and Austrian Economics

Dr. Harry Veryer, an author and professor of Economics at The University of Detroit Mercy, delivered a lecture entitled “Thomism and Austrian Economics” on March 18 in St. Kilian's Café. Veryer discussed how the foundational principles of the Austrian school of economics captured the anthropological starting point of Thomism. Veryer discussed in particular the thought of Hayek and Von Mises, drawing the connection between their agnostic anthropology and that of St. Thomas. Dr. Veryer delved into the economic issues facing the world today, and explored the root cause of why the world economy has fallen to a state of such instability. He also presented to the audience certain solutions for the problems of today's economy, and presented as an example of a good economy, the Austrian economic system which was founded over a hundred years ago, and is still effective in their nation today.

Students chat with Dr. Veryer and Christendom professor Dr. William Luckey after the talk.

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


Watching Pope Francis on the Big Screen

A crowd of excited students gathered in the Crusader Gym at four-thirty on Tuesday morning to watch Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass on live broadcast. The event was projected onto the wall of the gymnasium for all to see, and students were able to sit back with blankets, coffee and donuts to observe the proceedings. The Mass lasted two hours and everyone enjoyed watching this amazing event, as well as listening to the commentary provided by EWTN.

“Watching the inaugural Mass was a really profound experience for me, because it was really amazing to see how many people came out at four-thirty in the morning to see Pope Francis inaugurated,” said sophomore Bernadette Sartor. “It was also fantastic to see such a wide representation of cultures present at the Mass.”

After the broadcast was over, students—though a little tired —left elated to have witnessed such a historical and spiritually momentous occasion.

Coffee and donuts made the early rise a little easier.

Viva il papa!

Spring Break Missions

"Do we see the face of Christ in all those we come into contact with on a daily basis?"

This was a question that Sophomore Mark Turner and many other Christendom students were faced with during their ten day long spring breaks. On March 1, groups of students left campus to spend their spring break, not at home or the beach, but on one of the four mission trips that Christendom College offered this year. Students had the opportunity to choose a mission trip in the Bronx, Jamaica, Guatemala, or even Peru. Not only was each voyage an opportunity to experience a new culture, but it was also a time to truly encounter poverty from a firsthand perspective. Students worked with different missionary and religious groups during each of their stays and did a wide variety of work in order to help the people of each particular place.

“Working with the mentally and physically handicapped and HIV positive/AIDS residents from 1-80 was a challenge,” said Mark Turner, one of the 22 students who attended the first trip ever to Jamaica, “but we came to realize the simple truth that everyone is seeking love and we are able to give and receive that love from the connections which we made through our work.”

Those who attended the Bronx trip served at a homeless shelter run by a group of Franciscan Friars, while the Guatemala trip, headed by Padre Planty, and the Peru trip, headed by Amanda Graf, worked with orphaned children and the Missionaries of the Third World.

“I attended the all-girls mission trip to Peru last year as a sophomore,” said Junior Katie Shannon. “I am beyond grateful that I was able to go back again this year. Having some of the kids from the orphanage recognize me was definitely a blessing from God.”

If you ask any student about their experience on any of the mission trips, one thing is certain: you receive so much more than you give.

"From personal experience, attending a mission trip my freshman year of college was the best decision I made," says Chronicler reporter Emma Seidl. "The pilgrimage in Peru truly changed not only my perspective on life, but as a young Catholic. I know that all who have attended mission trips will stand behind me in encouraging all to experience mission work…it will change your life."

Read more about the mission trips here.

Senior Eric Maschue gives a ride to one of the children in Jamaica.

A student gives food to a homeless man in the Bronx.

Cutting firewood in Guatemala.

Senior Theresa Lamirande speaks with one of the disabled orphans in Jamaica.

Fr. Planty and the guys stop in Guatemala to take a photo.


Benvenuto, Papa Francesco!

Ciao! What an incredible two weeks it has been! We are now into our full load of classes—we are taking four classes this semester: Roman Perspectives with Professor Radle, Apologetics with Professor Pal, Italian with Professor Benziai, and Art and Architecture with Professor Lev. I think that it is safe to say that our favorite classes so far are Art and Architecture and Roman Perspectives!

On Thursday, February 28, many of us were able to gather in St. Peter’s square around five to say goodbye to Pope Benedict for the final time. What a moment it was! Screens were set up in the square, showing us the Holy Father, his farewell to the cardinals, and his ascent into the helicopter. After much guessing of which helicopter was carrying the Holy Father, (there were so many planes for security and broadcasting purposes) we saw his fly over St. Peter’s, heading to Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. About half an hour later, the helicopter descended at Castel Gandolfo, and Pope Benedict delivered his last address to the world. Although there was a profound sense of loss which surrounded this resignation of Pope Benedict, we were filled with hope for the upcoming conclave. Thank you, Pope Emeritus, for your dedication to the Church!

The following afternoon, we met up with College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell and his wife, Cathy, in Saint Peter’s square where they gave us a very warm welcome to Rome! Mrs. O’Donnell brought us care packages filled with lots of snacks which was so much appreciated by all of us here! We were then given an incredible tour of the Basilica by Dr. O’Donnell which greatly enriched our knowledge and perspective of St. Peter’s. Here are some interesting facts that we learned: the letters on the façade of the building are about 7 feet tall, there are recycled pillars from the old St. Peter’s which have been incorporated into the new basilica, it is approximately 400 feet from the floor of the basilica to the dome, and there are plaques on the floor of the basilica which show were all the major basilicas all over the world (one of them is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in D.C.) would fit into St. Peters!

The weekend that followed (March 1-3) was a free weekend. Some went to Krakow, Poland (which I heard is absolutely beautiful), while others went to Germany and Greece. Most of us, however, decided to stay close to home as there was much uncertainty as to when the conclave would start. This does not mean that we didn’t take advantage of everything Rome has to offer though! On Saturday many of us toured some of the more popular sites in Rome: Piazza Navona, the Pantheon (now converted into the Church of Mary of the martyrs), the Church of St. Agnes where we saw her head, saw some cool street art (this one guy was painting pictures with spray paint!), discovered another gelato store which had over 50 flavors, went to the Trevi fountain, and basically explored the churches and sites in between! On Sunday, some of us went to Ostia Antica, where there are ruins of an old roman seaport. It is such a great place to explore (and take pictures)—we saw what would have been considered an ancient bar. Pretty cool! Others went to Nettuno, where the remains of St. Maria Goretti rest. Almost everyone ended up going to one of the beaches off the coast and enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean sea.

Another week of classes went by as we anxiously waited for news of the commencement of the conclave, and then it came! It began on Tuesday, March 12. On Friday, after attending Mass at the station Church for the day, San Lorenzo, some of us went to the Holy Stairs (Santa Scala), which is located across the street from St. John Lateran. We visited a couple of churches on the way back to Candia, in which one of them contained a portion of the pillar which Christ was scourged at. That afternoon, some went to museums, while Elizabeth Walsh and I went to Castle San Angelo. Besides having a spectacular view of Rome, Castle San Angelo had a remarkable exhibit of St. Peter, which conjoined with the Year of Faith, and some pretty neat ancient canons and canon balls. smile

And now, the news, which I am sure you are all waiting to hear: the election!

On Tuesday morning the conclave began with Mass and by seven that evening the majority of us were waiting in the square to see the first signs of the smoke. It came at 7:40 and it was black. The next day, classes were canceled and so we went to square around 11:30 to see the noon smoke. Once again it came up black. By five that evening we were all gathered in St.. Peter’s square once again eagerly waiting for smoke. It was raining out and was getting cold, but as it was drawing closer to seven, the square was becoming more and more crowded and the more anxious we became. A bit after seven, approximately 7:05, it came! White smoke came bellowing from the chimney and there was no mistake about it—we had a pope! I cannot even begin to adequately describe all the thoughts and emotions which we experienced that night. We kept on exclaiming “we have a pope!” and that is all that mattered—we were not so much excited to see who had become pope as were just to see him. The fact that we had a pope was enough. We squeezed and pushed through the crowd to get closer. We were right in the front, about 10 rows behind the barricade! The hour and a half that we waited to see our new holy father was both the longest and the shortest wait I have ever experienced. There was so much joy and enthusiasm which filled Saint Peter’s. Chants of “viva il Papa,” songs and various cheers continually echoed throughout the square. The excitement was shared by everyone. During those moments, surrounded by people from multiple countries, one could just know with certainty that this is the church—the universal church—that is built upon the rock of Peter as we all waited with joyful anticipation to see the man whom we will all call our pope, and how incredible it is!

Finally, the cardinal appeared on the balcony and announced to the crowd the words that we were all waiting to hear: “Habemus Papam!” and that Cardinal Bergoglio had chosen the name “Francis.” We went nuts! While waiting for the pope, there were chants of “Papa Francesco” throughout the square. When the Pope finally made his entrance onto the balcony, our joy was made complete! At one point during his address, Pope Francis asked for a moment of silence in which we would pray for him. Though thousands of people had gathered in the square, not one sound could be heard—there was complete silence. Afterwards, the Pope imparted his first blessing to the city and to the world (ubi et orbi). What a memorable night!

On Friday, some of us went to Subiaco, where Saint Benedict lived as a hermit in a cave for three years. The atmosphere of Subiaco is one of serenity and it truly is beautiful! We went to the Benedictine monastery built there and when walking through the church we could see that the monastery is literally built into the cave. One of the monks gave us an amazing tour of the grounds. In the church, the monks have the only fresco of St. Francis which was painted by someone who actually saw the saint.

On Sunday we attended the Sunday Angelus where we all gathered in the square once again to hear the words of Pope Francis. After giving a beautiful reflection of mercy and forgiveness, he once again imparted his blessing to the crowd. After a long day of classes on Monday, we got up early Tuesday morning to attended the installation Mass of Pope Francis. We arrived by the square around five in the morning and waited until the police opened the barricades around 6:30. After getting into the piazza we secured a good spot and then waited until 9:30 for Mass to begin. We were so blessed to only be, at tops, five feet away from the Pope when he drove by!

There is still so much to learn about Rome. Here are some funny things that we have learned about this great city so far:

  • the best way to tour Rome is to become lost and walk around the city for two hours before you find your way back
  • the only pyramid in Rome right now has scaffolding around it
  • don’t be afraid to ask for directions in Italian no matter how bad your Italian is
  • chasing after buses can be fun and can develop into a habit pretty quickly
  • a fun way to pass time waiting for smoke during the conclave is to pretend to be journalists and interview people
  • not having your bus come can be one of the best things that has ever happened to you.

Well, that’s all for now!

Taking notes in the ancient Forum.

Welcoming Pope Francis.

On tour with Dr. O'Donnell.

Students heard a lecture from Rev. Wojciech Giertych, the Theologian of the Papal Household.

Exploring Subiaco.

Exploring the ancient ruins of Ostia.

Fun in the sun - life on the Mediterranean.

Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square.

Inaugural Mass.

Here comes the pope.

Ciao, Papa Francesco!

Check out our Rome students on "Life on the Rock." Watch two different groups of students at 13:00 and 38:00:


Take Me Out to the Ball Game

After finishing one the most successful seasons in Christendom history last year when the team finished with a record of 9-4 and claimed the ESBL Championship, the team looks to keep up the winning ways for the 2013 campaign. With many returning upperclassmen and a good group of freshmen talent, it seems all the ingredients are in place. The only ingredient that hasn’t been in place this year is the weather! Unfortunately, the winter that will never end has made a huge crimp in the plans of the baseball team to-date. With the first 4 games being postponed due to weather and it seems there is no guarantee for the next couple of weeks as to when the sunshine will show up and stay. First, there was the 14 inches of snow during Spring break, followed up with intermittent rain and then another four inches of snow last week and you have a recipe for lots of indoor practices. Utilizing the indoor batting cage and pitching mound setup in the gym, the team has been doing all they can to not get cabin fever. It seems though that the next six games in four days should go on as scheduled.

As mentioned the team will count on many of their upperclassmen for leadership on and off the field. The team boasts eight seniors and two juniors out of the 17-man roster. Included in the upperclassmen are returning senior starters, Dan Mitchell, Nicholas Blank, and Charlie Rollino. The team welcomes freshmen Nate Harrington and Ryan Tappe both of whom played competitively in high school. Nate Harrington, unfortunately, will have to undergo Tommy John surgery following the season, which will leave much of the pitching responsibility on the shoulders of Nick Blank.

One of the biggest surprises of last year’s team was the offensive firepower. Multiple games ended with the Crusaders scoring in the double digits with runs—something extremely rare in years gone by. Coach John Mercandetti knows the team will be ready to play come Saturday for the season home opener.

“The guys are getting super anxious. I am sure we will be ready to play on Saturday and it will be good to get the first game jitters out of the way,” Mercandetti says.

The Crusaders open the season this Saturday at the beautiful Bing Crosby Stadium with a 4 p.m. doubleheader start against Philadelphia Biblical University.

Go Crusaders!

Q. I was thinking about making a visit to Christendom and saw that you have an Open House event on April 22. Is it better to visit on that day or is it better to come to one of your visit weekends that are listed on your website?

A. Our Open House on April 22 is designed to give visitors a thorough overview of what we have to offer here at Christendom. Prospective students and their families can hear from our President, Dr. Timothy O'Donnell, tour the campus, go to Mass, have lunch with the faculty, learn about financial aid/scholarships, find out what our alumni do, and hear about our rigorous core curriculum. The day starts around 9 and ends at 3, so we really pack a lot in to this day for the sake of our visitors. You can find out more here.

I recommend the Open House for anyone, but I would also say that a weekend visit to campus, where you can stay in the residence halls and hang out with the students more would be something to think about too. Sometimes it takes a couple of visits to get a good feel of a place, so it's good to think about making a visit sometime during junior year of high school and then again, once in senior year too. Maybe attend an Open House in junior year and a weekend visit in senior year.

Whatever works best for you. Hope to see you on campus soon!

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.