Christendom College

Christendom College Experiences The Passion of the Christ as a Community

February 26, 2004

On Ash Wednesday, Christendom College rented a local movie theater for a special screening of the much-talked about movie, “The Passion of the Christ.”

passionOver 275 members of the College community lined up in the cold to await entrance into the theater, including College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. O’Donnell had already seen a pre-finalized version of the movie this past November, and was extremely impressed with director Mel Gibson’s version of the the passion of Our Lord.

Although the film with its “R” rating is too graphic for younger viewers, O’Donnell truly believes that this picture will have a dramatic impact on our jaded, fatigued, dying secular culture.

“In the minutes before the movie began, there was much anticipation,” says O’Donnell of his pre-screening experience. “Those of us gathered were excited and talking randomly. There was a sort of ‘light headedness’ about the room. Then the lights were dimmed and the movie began. For the next two hours or so, there wasn’t a sound. And for a considerable period of time after the movie ended, that silence persisted; broken only by an occasional sob or sniffle. I’ll never forget one woman’s story who came as one who had no faith. But as the film unfolded, she felt herself irresistibly drawn to Jesus through the film.”

According to one Christendom student who viewed the epic drama on Ash Wednesday, “it really makes you think about how each sin that we commit, even little ones, go toward the pain and suffering of Christ on the cross.”

Following the film, the movie-goers traveled back to campus where they had a silent holy hour with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and College chaplain, Fr. Robert Ruskamp, heard Confessions until the line ran out.

“I hope that for those students who watched it, this movie deepened their love for their Savior, increased their devotion to Him, and strengthened their resolve to go out into the world and do as Our Lord commanded, namely, to ‘make disciples of all nations,'” said O’Donnell. “I believe this was the perfect way for our students to begin their Lenten season and I encourage everyone to make this movie part of their Lenten experience. You will not be disappointed. In fact, I can all but guarantee that everyone will come away from the experience with a much fuller realization of the terrible consequences of sin. And in so doing, will be a changed person.”