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Christendom College is proud to provide the intellectual and spiritual formation necessary to prepare students to inspire the world around them, but it is each individual’s responsibility to build upon this foundation. Alumnus Jacob Meza ’05 is using his Christendom education to build up his community by prioritizing family and moral values, with the hope that his example will help others do the same.
Though originally from a more secular environment in California, Meza thrived at Christendom, where the Catholic community intrigued him. In the new environment, positive pressure from peers to embrace the faith combined with the incredible education opened his mind to a beautiful new lifestyle. In the midst of this, he met a young woman whose passion for her faith, matched with her joyful spirit, sparked his curiosity. Her example inspired him to learn more, and it was not long before he fell in love with his faith, and her as well. These things would help determine his path after graduation.
“Frequent sacraments, ideals, morals, all quickly became part of my core, what I believed in, what I liked,” Meza explained. “I made it to junior year and realized ‘I’m not going to be here forever, so what am I going to do?’ I realized the girl I was dating was the girl I wanted to marry, and I needed a game-plan. I have always loved business and politics. The Political Science department motivated me to go out and change things for the better, so I chose that as my major.”
After graduation, he continued his education earning a master’s degree in business. Five years later, he returned to Front Royal as a husband and businessman, ready to give back to the community that helped form him. He started working for the local medical provider, and though he loved his job, he was surrounded by people with very different priorities and opinions. Being in this environment showed him the value of his Christendom formation, which helped him succeed in a secular environment while remaining true to his principles.
“Christendom gave me the foundation in strength to stay that course. Quickly our confidence in what we believe can be eroded by what you have to face on a daily basis— especially if next to no one shares your values or lives a similar lifestyle. You have to be strengthened to a certain degree, in your choices and your faith, so you’re not shaken by the work day,” Meza shared.
He explained that having the unshakable foundation from Christendom has helped him perform better at work. During his job interview, he made it clear that family was his priority, that even though he would give his all on the job, he would not prioritize work over family time. His genuine answer earned him respect, and the position. On the job, he has found that proper priorities help him approach issues innovatively by using the combination of values and critical thinking instilled in him at Christendom.
“I influence decisions by coming at them strategically. I like to use reasoning and logic to come to some sort of creative solution that gets the outcome I want,” said Meza, who is currently the director of the Urgent Care and Occupational Health program for Valley Health Hospital System. It gives him the ability to encourage people to make professional decisions based on logic that actually protects moral values as well, without making a religious issue the central reason for change.
This mindset has helped Meza excel professionally, and he hopes that applying the same concepts through his new position on the Front Royal Town Council will also help him improve the local community. He wants the college and town to work together to create a wholesome environment for raising children, and strengthening future generations to promote enduring values in their own lives and places of business.
“I care about my community and want to be involved,” Meza expressed. He explained that ultimately the best thing Catholics can do is witness through their lives, be joyful about living for Christ, and never stray from their principles.
“Everyone has to prioritize their values and stay committed to them; I think that’s lacking in society. Stay committed and be joyful about the decisions you make. If you’re out there exemplifying that joy, it creates curiosity like you wouldn’t believe, because few people are happy. That’s how I evangelize, by living my life in a certain way that piques people’s curiosity. Then they slowly start to ask about it, and when they see you’re passionate about it—it opens their minds to Christ. We need people out there changing the world, even if it’s just a little, touching one person. We need people who are up to the challenge,” Meza said.
That is exactly what he is trying to do, and is working hard to ensure that he and his family will be a worthy example to inspire others to do the same, fulfilling Christendom College founder Dr. Warren Carroll’s belief that “one man can make a difference.”