All of the following FAQs are taken from past issues of the weekly online newsletter, The Chronicler, and are answered by former Admissions Director (now VP Enrollment) Tom McFadden
How's the food at Christendom?
As a former restaurant manager and as someone who likes to cook a lot, I have had plenty of experience in the food service business. I’d have to say that the food at Christendom is pretty good, and it keeps getting better each year.
We have found that most people coming to Christendom are used to having a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a nice sit-down well-prepared meal with their entire family at dinner.
At Christendom, we believe that our offerings at each meal service, although not prepared and cooked by Mom, are diverse, delicious, and filling. Of course, you are going to get some students that will disagree with this statement, but in general, I believe this to be truthful.
At Christendom, meals are served at one specific time each day and all those interested in eating are expected to show up to the dining area at that time and eat with everyone else. For breakfast you could expect to find the kitchen serving things like bacon and eggs, egg sandwiches, egg burritos, pancakes, home fries, bagels, waffles, omelettes, french toast, sausages, eggs benedict, and the like. There are also a bunch of cereals from which to choose. For lunch, you normally get a choice of three different items. One or two are served hot, and we always have the “Sandwich Bar.” Every day you can go through the “Sandwich Bar” line and have a freshly made deli sandwich for lunch. Also, during lunch (and dinner), there is a fresh salad bar and a choice of delicious homemade soups and a variety of fruits. And a very popular item is the “Ice Cream Bar,” available after every lunch. And for dinner, the meals that are served are generally comfort foods, or foods that “Mom” would make.
For students who have special dietary needs, the kitchen staff is available to figure out how they can best serve them. Also, for students who need to be off the meal plan, the College has a number of “house” dormitories where students have access to a full kitchen and can provide their own meals.
Our Executive Chef, Dennis Paranzino, is awesome and is very willing to work with students to help them with their food selections and eating habits. I ask a lot of students what they think of the food, and unless they are extremely picky eaters, they tend to say it’s pretty good. In fact, all of the class presidents and other members of the Student Activities Council meet with the Chef twice a semester to let him know feedback about the food and there is a comment box available all the time.
For more information about dining services, please refer to this web page.
What is a typical day at Christendom like? How many hours are spent in class, study, prayer, and free time?
Great question! Well, first of all there is never really a typical day. Depending on which year you are in and what you are majoring in you will have classes at varying times. But, in general, here’s what I can lay out for you:
Monday through Friday: Mass is offered at 7:30 am. Breakfast is served from 7:45-8:30. Then classes begin at 8:30. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays classes are 50 minutes each. So, classes are from 8:30-9:20, 9:30-10:20, and then 10:30-11:20. Then everything stops and our community Mass is offered at 11:30am. (with confessions heard for a half hour prior to it and sometimes all the way up until Communion time around noon). Between the end of the 7:30 Mass and the beginning of the 11:30 Mass we have Eucharistic Adoration where students sign up to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in half hour increments. Following Mass is lunch which is served from 11:45-12:45. Then classes resume from 1-1:50, 2-2:50 and 3-3:50. Dinner is then served from 5:15-6:00 and then the Rosary is said in community in the Chapel at 6:00, at which time confessions are also heard from 6-6:30pm nightly. Then, there are a couple of classes offered at night, but normally they are upper division classes for Juniors and Seniors.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, classes are 1 hour and 15 mins long. Classes go from 8:30-9:45, 10-11:15, 1-2:15, 2:30-3:45, and 4-5:15. Other than that everything is as listed above.
A freshman at Christendom normally takes 6 classes, worth 18 credits, and generally spends 18 hours of his/her week in class. The rest of the time can be used to pray, play, study, work, build friendships, eat, or whatever. A typical freshman class schedule may be this:
8:30-9:20 Euclidean Geometry
9:30-10:20 Literature of Western Civilization
10:30-11:20 Elementary Latin
1:00-1:50 Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine
8:30-9:45 Introduction to Philosophy
10:00-11:15 History of Western Civilization
Can you tell me more about your Equestrian Program? It sounds like a wonderful opportunity.
We began offering the equestrian program in the Fall of 2009, and, from everything I can tell, it seems like it is a big hit with those that are taking part in it.
Through a special arrangement, Christendom College has a deal worked out with a local horse farm, The Royal Horseshoe Farm, to allow our students to take part in a variety of horse-riding programs. The Royal Horseshoe Farm is located just a couple of miles and is owned and operated by a nice Catholic family – The Aspers.
Students may choose from the following extra-curricular programs (Prices may not be accurate at this time):
Casual Option ($135 per semester):
This is designed for the student who just wants to ride on an occasional basis. Group Rides are scheduled two (2) times per month (6 per semester). The first several sessions focus on the formation or enhancement of riding skills. Later sessions are trail rides or organized riding activities in an arena.
Weekly Option ($250 per semester):
This is for the student who would like to work on riding skills, but only has a limited amount of time. Group sessions are scheduled weekly (12 per semester) and are under the direction of a certified instructor. Students will see steady progress in their riding skills and will learn about basic horse care.
Focused Option ($495 per semester):
This is for the student who wants to accelerate the pace of improvement in his or her riding skills. Group Sessions will be smaller and there is more individualized training by a certified instructor. Sessions occur nominally twice a week (any combination of week days or weekend days (24 per semester). As much as possible, sessions will be tailored to the skill of the individual rider.
Here is the link on our website about the equestrian program and you can also learn more about all the other amazing recreational activities that our area offers our students by going here.
When I go to college, I want to be able to have a lot of life experiences, ones that broaden my worldview and give me the opportunity to become a leader when I graduate. Due to Christendom's small size, although I know I will get a great Catholic education, I sometimes wonder if I will be given enough exposure to the rest of the world and given the ability to gain leadership qualities. Any thoughts?
This question is one that is asked of me quite often. Some think that because we are such a faithful, close-knit college community, maybe our students are unable to meet the challenges of the so-called “real” world after graduation. I am here to say that this is an incorrect assumption, and here’s why.
Not in spite of our small size (around 440), but because of it, our students are able to flourish even more than they could at a larger college/university with more offerings/activities/clubs. Here’s why I say this. At Christendom, anyone, from any major or in any grade level can take part in any or all of the various activities. You don’t have to be a drama major to act in our plays. You don’t need to be a music major to sing in the choir or perform in musical variety shows. You don’t need to be on athletic scholarship to play for our varsity teams. You don’t need to have run your high school’s student government in order to make become a member of our Student Activities Council. Also, there are so many activities and events on and off-campus that allow for our students to broaden their understanding of today’s world.
Christendom provides its students with ample opportunity to put into practice what they’ve learned by enfleshing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy: Going on Spring Break Mission Trips ~ Volunteering at a Local Crisis Pregnancy Center ~ Feeding the Poor and Homeless in Washington, DC ~ Visiting Nursing Homes and Local Shut-Ins ~ Assisting at a Local Parish’s Soup Kitchen ~ Organizing Red Cross Blood Drives ~ Participating in Prayerful Pro-Life Gatherings.
Students are encouraged to think and act globally while expanding their cultural horizons during their Junior Semester Abroad in Rome: Live within ten minutes of the Vatican ~ Attend daily Mass and Papal audiences at St. Peter’s ~ Explore Rome, Florence, Assisi, and Siena ~ Learn the Italian language and experience the culture.
To help students become as well-rounded as possible so that they can be effective lay leaders, the College promotes a number of diverse campus groups, activities, clubs, and societies: Pro-life (Students for Life, Shield of Roses) ~ Religious (Legion of Mary) ~ Political (College Republicans) ~ Intellectual (The Cincinnatus League) ~ Public-speaking (Chester-Belloc Debate Society) ~ Acting (The Christendom Players, Mystery Dinner Theater) ~ Social (Swing Dance Club, Film Club) ~Service (Holy Rood Guild, Outreach) ~ Recreational (Equestrian Program) ~Music (Christendom Choir, Schola Gregoriana).
The College has an extensive Speakers Program which enables students to learn about a diverse range of topics and interact with some of today’s most successful leaders: Major Speakers Program ~ Politics Practica Program ~ St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture ~ Faith & Reason Lecture Series ~Departmental Guest Speakers Program ~ Formation Speaker Series.
To give students the chance to grow in responsibility and strengthen their character, a variety of leadership opportunities are offered: Student Life Office Resident Assistant ~ Admissions Office Student Ambassador ~ Student Activities Council and Government ~ Presidential Advisory Committee ~On-Campus Employment
Finally, Christendom offers its students many cultural opportunities to broaden their worldview and understanding: Poetry and Prose Reading Events ~ Trips to Washington, DC – Kennedy Center, Museums ~ Vocal, Orchestral, and Piano Musical Performances ~ Art Shows and Discussion Groups ~ Movie Nights and Dances ~ Beato Fra Angelico Fine Arts Program ~ Cultural Heritage Celebrations (St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, Italian Night, etc).
I see from your website that students seem to be dressed up all the time. Is there a dress code of some sort, and if so, what does it entail? Thanks!
Although many colleges do not have a dress code for their students, we believe that dressing for the occasion is an important aspect of life, and as such, helps prepare our students to become leaders in society after graduation. There’s a famous saying that goes something like this: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” What that means, in short, is that, if you want to get ahead in life, don’t dress like everyone else, or you will not get noticed. If you dress up, even though you may not be required to do so, your boss may notice and you may get a promotion or raise or some other good thing. That’s the theory, anyway.
Christendom has always had a professional dress code for its students for classes, morning Mass, and lunch time because all of those activities are considered important and dressing up for them has a tendency to help students keep focused on the important work that they are doing. Other than that, students are allowed to wear regular clothes (jeans, shorts, t-shirts, etc), as long as they conform to the College’s modesty dress code. Although I am sure there are times that students wish they could simply roll out of bed, throw on some sweats, and go to class, generally, it seems that most of the students appreciate the “professional” or “dressed-up” feel of our campus during the school day.
Here are some excerpts from the 2011-12 Student Handbook on the subject of Dress Code:
Properly dignified and modest attire at Christendom College is not only a trait of a Christian people; it is essential to College morale, to show respect for oneself and others. Since your primary vocation here is to be a student, it follows, then, that your attire, whether in class or relaxing, should equal the dignity of that pursuit.
Collegiate study is professional work; therefore, a Professional Dress Code is in force for all classes, Community Masses (i.e., Masses at 11:30 a.m. M-F and all Masses on Sundays), Sunday brunch and noon meals on class days. To help define “professional looking,” some guidelines are listed below.
For Men :
The Professional Dress Code requires dress slacks, dress shirt, tie, dress socks, and dress shoes.
Here are some guidelines to clarify the above dress code:
- All shirt tails must be tucked in.
- Cargo-type pants or pants with back patch pockets are not considered “Professional Dress Code” appropriate.
- Ties must be worn properly, i.e. not pulled away from the neck or shirt unbuttoned.
- Dress socks must be worn.
- Belts or suspenders are required.
For Sunday Mass and Brunch, as well as for other select events such as Major Speaker Dinners, men have the additional requirement of wearing either a suit or a sports jacket. This is called “Sunday Dress Code.”
The Professional Dress Code requires a business dress, or a dress skirt/dress pants and dress shirt (preferably button down with collar), and dress shoes.
Here are some guidelines to clarify the above dress code:
- The neck of all dresses/blouses must not be lower than four fingers from the top of the sternum.
- All skirts/dresses are to be no shorter than the crease of the back of the knee.
- If a skirt/dress has a slit in the front or side, the slit shall not be more than one-two inches above the knee cap. If the slit is in the back, it shall be no higher than three-four inches, measured from the crease of the knee.
- No form-fitting dresses, skirts, tops, shorts, or pants are allowed at any time.
- A shirt should not be form-fitting or so tight that it clings to the body.
- Shirts and blouses should be long enough so as not to bare the midriff.
- The straps of a dress or shirt must be at least one inch wide at the top of the shoulder.
Specifically Related to Class Dress for All
- Sweatshirts, hooded sweaters and similar garments are not permitted.
- Athletic t-Shirts of any sort are not permitted.
- Sleeveless, professional shirts are allowed, but tank tops are not allowed.
- Acceptable pants are linen, wool, rayon, or cotton.
- Cargo-type pants, pants with back patch pockets, Capri’s and stretch-style pants or similar are not considered “appropriate.”Stretch-style dress tights or similar are permitted so long as they are worn with an appropriate skirt/dress.
- Flip-flops, Birkenstock, fishermen, and sporty style sandals, clogs, tennis shoes, canvas shoes, and similar are not appropriate.
- Only dress shoes are permitted.
Specifically Related to Sunday Dress for All
For Sunday Mass and Brunch, as well as for other select events such as Major Speaker Dinners, all students must wear “Sunday Dress Code” attire. Sunday Dress specifically requires that students wear the best possible of the above out of propriety and respect for events in which Sunday Dress is required. Students are further reminded that this attire includes a jacket or suit for men and a dress or dress skirt for women. Pants are not considered “Sunday Dress Code” appropriate for women.
At all times, dress must be modest (i.e. not tight nor too loose, not low cut in back or front, not too short, no spaghetti straps, strapless, or halter tops, etc.) and respectful. All shorts must be long enough so that the wearer’s fingertips do not go past the bottom of the shorts. Women’s swimwear must be modest one-piece. Clothing must be worn over the swimsuit when walking to and from the river.
The specifications for dress code set out in this section are meant as guidelines and not as exhaustive rules.
I am very interested in getting involved in a lot of activities when I go away to college. I see from your weekly Chronicler that the students have a lot of fun things to do to keep them active, but do they have any opportunities to do any charitable works of mercy or the like? I am very involved in my parish and want to continue to do all I can to help out those less fortunate than me, even while I am at college.
I am so glad that you asked this question! The short answer is, yes, our students have a number of opportunities to perform both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Students can take part in a variety of activities, such as:
- Participating in Spring Break and Summer Mission Programs
- Delivering Food to the Needy with Meals on Wheels
- Helping the Less Fortunate with Housing Needs by Working with Habitat for Humanity
- Assisting Women in Need at a Local Crisis Pregnancy Center
- Serving the Poor at the Local Parish’ Soup Kitchen
- Visiting the Elderly at the Local Nursing Home
- Feeding and Clothing the Poor and Homeless in Washington, DC
- Organizing Red Cross Blood Drives on Campus
- Participating in Prayerful Pro-Life Gatherings
- Praying for Living and Deceased Benefactors
- Working with the Legion of Mary to Help Evangelize Local Residents
- Taking Part in Eucharistic Adoration and Daily Rosary
- Teaching CCD to Children at the Parish
All of these opportunities, and more, are meant to help enflesh what the students are learning in their classes so that they might be better Catholics who are able to enter today’s world as leaders in the effort to restore all things in Christ. Here is a page on our website which may give you more information about this whole subject.
Can you tell me about the types of Masses offered at Christendom? Do you have different types of Masses for people to go to, like traditional Masses or Masses with praise and worship or with guitars?
We do offer different types of Masses at Christendom, but I believe most people would generally categorize them as being celebrated in a traditional manner. We have 15 Masses offered in our chapel each week (when school is in session) – two or three a day, except for Sunday when there is only one. The majority of the Masses are the Novus Ordo (regular English) Mass, although we do have the Novus Ordo in Latin, as well as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the old Tridentine Mass) throughout the week as well. The complete schedule can be found here.
No matter which Mass you attend in our Chapel of Christ the King, you will definitely experience a very traditional setting: lots of beautiful stained glass windows, marble altar, lots of dark wood, tabernacle in the middle of the high altar, statues, etc. The types of music that you might hear would be considered traditional as well. Songs like, “Jesus My Lord, My God, My All,” “Soul of My Savior,” “Faith of Our Fathers,” “Salve Regina,” etc. are frequently sung, and a couple of times a week, the schola chants various parts of the Mass. Normally, the only instrument that is played is the pipe organ, although we have had a number of Masses recently where violins and cellos have been involved.
On Sunday, we have a very beautiful 10am Mass which is accompanied by our accomplished choir and the Schola Gregoriana. There is a lot of incense and solemnity during this Mass and it is the high point of our week here.
Also, during all the Masses, we hear the bells rung during the Epiclesis and Consecration and the altar boys wear surpluses and cassocks and use patens during Communion.
Can you explain to me some of the leadership opportunities that you have available on campus? I'm very interested in attending Christendom, but I want to be able to gain some valuable, real-life, leadership experiences while going to college, too.
Some say that leaders are born. Others say they are made. I would tend to say that the truth lies somewhere between. Christendom alumni are leaders in their communities, in their churches, in their places of employment, and in their homes. And what is it exactly that enables our alumni to be such stand-out leaders? I would credit some of it to their good upbringing, stability of family life, and their faithful following of the Faith, but I would also give much credit to their college experience here at Christendom.
We instill in our students some of the great qualities that make a good leader, such as Integrity, Dedication, Magnanimity, Humility, Openness, Creativity, and Discipline. We give them opportunities to grow in virtue and to be accountable for their actions, simply through the daily living of their lives and their commitment to their academic, moral, spiritual, and social lives. Many people who attend college, due to a lack of caring on the part of the college, spend most of their days living lives quite contrary to virtue, and seemingly, more concerned with the 7 capital sins!
They are immersed in lives of sloth, lust, gluttony, and other such evils, and as a result, they are not capable of becoming effective leaders upon graduation, because only those who are living lives of virtue can truly be called good leaders. So, more often than not, Christendom students have a distinct advantage after graduation in this regard.
But beyond the fact that we encourage the practice of virtue on campus and promote an ordered lifestyle, we do have some programs in place to give students “hands on” experience serving as leaders and people who can make a difference.
We offer our students the opportunities to serve as Student Ambassadors for visiting students, to be Resident Assistants or members of the Student Government, and to hold positions of leadership in school clubs and organizations as well as to hold on-campus employment positions. Our students are encouraged to do volunteer work with the poor and marginalized, to go outside themselves and to think of others first through protecting the unborn, visiting the sick, feeding the poor, instructing the ignorant, and much more.
Our students can take part in internships in Washington, DC, and in our local area, and they can work as a team and provide leadership on our various varsity athletic teams. They can serve as tutors and mentors to other students, as well as help local families with their schooling or extra-curricular activity needs.
In short, our students are immersed in a rigorous academic environment, where they must meet deadlines, write research papers, dress professionally for classes, abide by a demanding code of conduct that aids in the pursuit of virtue, and be accountable for their actions. They must manage their time well, learning a sense of urgency and how to prioritize the activities in their lives.
This type of educational environment certainly produces leaders who will make their mark on history. As Dr. Carroll, our founder, always taught, “One man can make a difference” and, we are all called to be “history makers” in today’s culture. I highly encourage you to learn more about how Christendom is helping to create tomorrow’s leaders on our campus today.