Christendom began its twenty-ninth academic year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit in its Chapel of Christ the King celebrated by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde on August 21. During the Mass, the entire faculty made a profession of faith and took an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Christendom remains one of only two Catholic colleges in the US where the entire faculty – not simply those in the theology department – takes the oath.
In his homily, Bishop Loverde focused on the role of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of each of us.
“His role is to enable us to grow in holiness,” he began, “to become more and more like Jesus, to deepen our friendship with God. Each one of us is called to holiness, whatever the specific nature of our individual vocation: bishop, priest, deacon, consecrated religious, married person, single person.”
It is the Holy Spirit’s purpose to train us in holiness by leading us in prayer, both personal and liturgical, His Excellency explained.
“If we are attentive to the Holy Spirit in our daily personal prayer, He will draw us into ever-deepening holiness of life. The Holy Spirit also aids us in liturgical prayer, especially when we meet the Lord Jesus in the sacramental celebrations of Penance and Holy Eucharist. Indeed, in the closing months of the Year of the Eucharist, let us allow Him to draw us into deeper intimacy with Our Blessed Lord, Who comes to us, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine, and Who dwells among us in His Real Presence in each tabernacle throughout the world.”
Bishop Loverde continued by explaining that the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives also encompasses our mission in the Church and our service to others. We are “trained in true holiness of life in order that we might make God’s Presence in the world tangible and felt,” he said.
“Whatever our individual gift or gifts, the Holy Spirit is the source and these are given for some benefit to the Body of Christ. Attentive to the Holy Spirit, we discern our particular gifts and with generosity of heart, we use these for the service of others, both within the household of faith and in the wider human community.
“You are now gathered as the community of Christendom College. Christendom College is a fully integrated Catholic institution of higher education. Here, authentic Catholic education takes place, including ongoing formation in faith. Surrender your lives to the lead of God the Holy Spirit. Let Him draw you into new ways of holiness, so that what you are and do will continue to equip you for living out faithfully your call to holiness and the individual vocation God gives you,” he concluded.
Following Mass, the College community walked to the St. John the Evangelist library in solemn procession where His Excellency then blessed and dedicated a large crucifix, donated to the College by longtime faculty members Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Rice, which now hangs above the information commons area of the library.
This year’s total student enrollment of 379 undergraduates marks yet another record enrollment. Included in this year’s tally are 129 new students, 105 of them being Freshmen. Besides the fact that they are the largest entering Freshman class in the College’s history, they are also one of the most confident and active classes the College has seen in a long while.
Part of this confidence derives from the fact that 40 of the Freshmen are siblings of either current or past students and have been quite familiar with Christendom for a number of years. And twelve of the Freshmen pictured above) have known about Christendom since birth because either one or both of their parents attended Christendom.
Additionally, out of the 105 Freshmen, 49 are male, 56 are female. That is a 47% to 53% Male/Female ratio; one of the closest in the College’s history. And according to Athletic Director Tom VanderWoude, the Freshman class is one of the most athletically talented he’s ever seen.