Student Profile

Derek Casey

Age: 19
Year: Freshman
From: San Francisco, CA
Major: History
Hobbies: I enjoy watching sports with my friends
What is your favorite class or professor? My favorite teachers are Fr. Donald Planty for Theology and Dr. Micahel Kelly for History.
What extra curricular activities do you participate in? I play on the soccer and rugby teams, and I participate in all of the intramural sports, including wiffleball, soccer, and volleyball, and my teams have been the champions of all of them this year!
What's your favorite thing about Christendom? My favorite thing about Christendom is the size of the school. I enjoy having a smaller community that I can bond with. I also love playing on our school soccer and rugby teams.
Why did you choose Christendom? I do not know what truly drew me to this college, but after visiting during a summer camp, I put my life in the hands of God and through His grace here I am.
What surprised you the most about Christendom? The thing that surprised me the most about Christendom is how active the student body is and how the majority of the students participate in extracurricular activities.
Plans after graduation? I plan on entering the Navy.
Any parting words of advice for prospective students? To all prospective students: I can’t wait to meet you!

Student Life

40 Hours of Adoration

From Wednesday evening to Friday evening Christendom College observed its annual Lenten tradition of 40 Hours of Perpetual Adoration, during which individuals and groups of students signed up to watch with Jesus throughout the day and night. Father Planty gave a short inspirational homily during Exposition reminding students of the importance of coming to spend time before the Lord, manifest in the Eucharist, and encouraging them to stop in regularly throughout the rest of the week. This annual devotion always helps students return to a spirit of prayer in the midst of their obligations and helps them live in light of the liturgical season as they go throughout the day.

Fr. Planty reminds students of the importance of Adoration in the Lenten season.


Game Night

On Friday night, students gathered in Crusader Gymnasium for a night of fun and games. Game Night, hosted by SAC, gave everyone a chance to take a break from the hectic school pace and enjoy some time to relax and have fun. There was something for everyone at Game Night.

Students enjoyed playing pickup games of volleyball and football. Tables were set up on the second floor of the gym for those who wanted to play board games and eat the delicious snacks provided. There was also a rousing game of corn-hole. Overall, the evening was a great, laidback event that provided fun for all.

Students relax and enjoy Game Night.

A rousing round of Apples to Apples!

Sophomores and freshmen have fun over a board game.


Coffee House 2014

Christendom's annual talent show known as Coffee House took place on Saturday evening in the Commons. Coffee House is an opportunity for any and all students to show off their special gifts and entertain their peers, especially through humorous songs and skits.

There were plenty of hilarious acts, as well as musical numbers and an amazing show of juggling. The performers kept their audience laughing and smiling all night long. Whether it was ventriloquism, singing original songs, acting in skits, or riding a unicycle, Christendom's student body certainly proved its talent and sense of humor at this year's Coffee House.

Melody Wood, Maggie Ostrowski, Marissa Fiering and Stephen Hyland in "Grannies."

Performing feats of juggling.

The Blank brothers kept everyone laughing with their performance of "Who's on First."

Jordan Mann, Katy Shannon, and Gabrielle Muskett in "Animal Hospital."

Junior Andre Moreau impresses the crowd with his ventriloquism skills.

A performance of "Les Miz in 5 Minutes" brought down the house.


Walking Around DC

Last Sunday the Student Activities Council hosted a trip into Washington D.C., dropping off students at Union Station and letting them tour the city, check out museums, and casually explore the historic city. The day started with seven o'clock Mass in town, and then students were allowed to explore on their own, given bag lunches, maps, contact numbers, and a place to meet at the end of the day. And though bad weather made any outdoor excursions difficult, students still had fun popping in and out of musuems, shopping, and walking around the nation's capital.

"Being able to come up into Washington DC for a day trip is really awesome," freshman Ashton Forbeck shared. "It is something I would definitely do again, I had a great time!"

The college's unique location in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley gives students the opportunity to have all the historical and entertainment options in Washington D.C. an hour down the road, while still being able to grow and study in a more quiet and naturally beautiful environment.

Students set out from Union Station with grins on their faces.

Taking a moment to pose like Robert A. Taft while on the way to the National Mall.

Having fun while walking to the Capitol Building.

Freshmen waiting for the metro at Smithsonian Station.



Rome Report

with Philip Gilbert

Amazing and Striking Experiences


When the weekend comes around the students in the Rome Program are eager to take advantage of their surroundings and further their education by exploring and absorbing the cultures and historic sights around them. Sometimes students take advantage of their free weekends by hopping on cheap flights to other countries for the weekend. Some of my fellow students flew to Krakow to visit Auschwitz and the home of Blessed John Paul II, while others went to Brussels to visit family and enjoy beer, waffles, and chocolate. A friend and I went to Constantinople to see the ancient sights of Byzantium and the Eastern Roman Empire.

Other times, students choose to explore the sights nearer to home, for there are many things to do in Rome itself. One of our favorite things to do is what we call “church hopping.”

Before coming to Rome I never knew there could be so many churches in such close proximity to each other. There are, of course, the major basilicas and large churches which stand out in the landscape and stand as destinations for planned visits. On the way to and from these grand churches you quickly discover that there are tons of little churches tucked away in unsuspecting side streets. Though these churches, often small and humble, sometimes larger and more grand, are easy to overlook, it's quite fun to go in many of these because you never know what you will find. Many times I have poked my head inside what I thought was a simple little chapel to discover something amazing inside. Often what I discover is incredible beauty in the architecture and works of art that adorn the church. Sometimes, I even discover the relics of some great saint—one time I entered a little out-of-the-way church and was amazed to find relics of the new martyrs of Communism and the body of the Apostle Bartholomew; another time I found the skull of Saint Valentine. The other day I was walking back from one church and was trying to find a certain other one and on my way I found myself in the church containing the head of John the Baptist and the body of Saint Tarcisius.  Tarcisius is the patron saint of acolytes, and so being Christendom's head sacristan, as well as an acolyte myself, it was special to me to be able to pray for Christendom's altar servers at his tomb.

The warm and dry weather is most certainly conducive to spending time outside, and that gives us many options for afternoon activities. Some students take books down to the shade of the Borgesie Gardens, while others will venture down to the open-air flea market Porta Portese to do some bargaining. Thanks to an invite from our chaplain, Fr. Dan, some of went to cheer on our favorite team in the Clericus Cup, which is a soccer tournament between the seminarians at the various Pontifical colleges. Since our favorite team is, of course, the North American College, we joined Fr. Dan and his colleagues at the side of the soccer field, which overlooks the Vatican. Unfortunately the NAC lost, but we had tons of fun anyway. Rugby is one of Fr. Dan's favorite pastimes, so he invited all the guys from the Rome Programs of Christendom and Thomas More Colleges for a friendly but competitive game of touch rugby on the NAC field. Not only was the rugby an awesome way to spend a Sunday afternoon and get some exercise, but also it was nice to find an English-speaking oasis in the middle of Rome.

Last weekend a large group of us decided to take full advantage of the wonderfully warm and dry weather by taking a day trip to the beach at Ostia. Since the train there is covered by the metro pass that we're given, the trip there is free, so it's a great way to relax and enjoy an afternoon without spending money. Passing the time picnicking and relaxing in the sun on the shore of the Mediterranean with no particular agenda is possibly one of the most relaxing things you can ever do, and we thoroughly enjoyed it (especially with our families' tales of the ice and snow back in the States). Though there are beaches back home, there is something much different about this experience that makes it particularly special. Simply being on the Mediterranean, in and around which so many important things have happened, is amazing.

Additionally, one thing that makes the Rome Program such a better experience than traveling by oneself years after college is that you get to experience so many amazing things with the amazing friends that you've made in college, making the experience even more meaningful. We had gone swimming in the freezing ocean water, so we built a fire of driftwood to dry off and warm up. We hung out around the fire for a while, chatting and eating the sandwiches we'd brought, just enjoying the sea breeze and the company of our friends.  As the sun set we began to talk about deeper subjects, such as Lent and life goals, and to sing old Latin hymns we knew from memory. As my friends were singing and discussing things, I knew that this is the sort of thing that you cannot plan or coordinate, and I was struck in a way not easily articulated by how amazing a place Christendom is.

(In a column dedicated to conveying experiences common to the Rome Program it would be inappropriate to relate the story of an experience that is sure to happen only once. With that statement I will assure the reader that though this particular experience may not exactly happen again, I continually find that the caliber of the people that attend Christendom, combined with the environment provided by the semester in Rome, create amazing and striking experiences that occur with some regularity.)

As the fire died we decided that it was time to head back to Rome. As we rode the train back to the city I reviewed the pictures I had snapped, and I realized that despite my attempts to record the experience, none of the photos I had taken had turned out in any quality. However, I was alright with this because I knew that no photo could fully convey the experience and I knew that I wouldn't soon forget.

Soccer at the NAC, overlooking the Vatican.

Fun at Ostia.

Churches literally across the street corner from each other make "church hopping" easy.



Crusader Sports Center

Senior Crusaders

Senior Sports reporter Johnny Foeckler caught up with fellow senior student-athletes Christan Kopeck, Jon Fioramonti and Tim Vander Woude to get some of their thoughts over the past four years at Christendom.

What Sports have you played?
Tim, Jon: Basketball and Soccer
Christian: Basketball

How did you balance playing sports and your other responsibilities?
Jon: Sports helped to put my other activities and responsibilities into perspective. While I didn't have as much time for everything else, sports forced me to manage my time well.
Christian: I've always found that I do better in school while playing sports because I am forced to get my work done ahead of time. It is sort of a built in time management tool. I was able to run the Meals on Wheels program at Christendom for the last 3 years while playing basketball.

What was the greatest game during your four years here?
Tim: Definitely my freshmen year when the soccer team defeated Southern Virginia 1-0 in a thrilling overtime victory. It was the last game of the season and we had never beaten them before.
Christian: My sophomore year we played Mid-Atlantic Christian in the basketball tournament and had just lost by 25 to them the week before. We had some guys missing with injuries but a bunch of guys stepped up and we pulled out a huge upset.

What was your favorite memory in general over the past 4 years?
Christian: It was definitely the road trips. Traveling with the team in the bus or vans and hanging out in the hotels was always a blast especially when Tim Beer was with us!
Jon: I would say the Southern Virginia Soccer game and all the bus rides with all the different guys over the years. Each bus ride has a story of its own!

What Advice would you give to incoming student-athletes?
Jon: Christendom is a great place to play college sports at a high level. Just enjoy every second of your sports career while you are here. Don't hold anything back, and give everything you have. At the same time make sure to put first things first, keep God at the top then studies and everything will work out.
Tim: I would just say that athletics at the college level are not a joke and require a great deal of work and commitment but it is so worth it in the end. After the commitment and work that you devote to any sport, you will enjoy the time you had with the teammates and the friendships that you formed which will never leave.



Special Report

Christendom's Catholic Identity

Christendom College is uniquely distinct among other colleges in the country due to its complete commitment to centering every aspect of academic and student life on Jesus Christ and the truth found in the Catholic Church. It is concerned about the development of the whole person and the well-being of the students’ souls. Christendom helps its students grow intellectually and spiritually in their knowledge and love of God, and the college’s overarching goal is thus to help them attain eternal salvation in Heaven. Students do not simply study the Faith, but they live it.

“One thing I love about Christendom is how natural it is to be Catholic here,” says junior Peter Deucher.  “Christendom helps students integrate the Faith into their everyday life and avoid making it something thought of only once a week.  Especially after working with our chaplain and head sacristan, Fr. Planty, I have grown to appreciate how much the college does to instruct and encourage its students in daily living the Faith.”

Christendom College has the full approval of the Diocese of Arlington and of the Church in Rome, and every professor at the college is Catholic and makes an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium and a Profession of Faith each year in the presence of the Diocese of Arlington's Bishop, Paul Loverde. As a result, all classes are taught from with a Catholic worldview, and students are especially led to the truths of their Faith through their Theology and Philosophy classes.

“From a philosophy standpoint, it is good to have the Truth to hold as a standard because it is hard to form reason properly, and Christendom brings its students to the truths of natural reason and the fullness of truth about God,” says senior Matthew Speer. “It is easy to make error if you do not have the Truth to help form your intellect.”

Furthermore, Catholicism permeates every aspect of student life, for the college places great emphasis on the Sacraments and prayer, offering Daily Mass, Daily Adoration, Daily Confession, Daily Rosary, and Daily Evening and Morning Prayer. The rules and regulations governing student life, such as professional dress code and no intervisitation between the men and the women in the dormitories, serve to help students embrace the fullness of Catholic life. The opportunities to get involved in corporal and spiritual works of mercy on campus are abundant, and Catholicism is truly a way of life on campus, affecting everything from the core curriculum to social activities, student clubs, and the athletic department. For this reason, Christendom College achieves its mission of “restoring all things in Christ” by enabling its students to truly live out their faith and “breathe Catholic.”

“As Catholics we are called to let Christ permeate every corner of our lives, and it is certainly good to do this at Christendom,” says freshman David Massa. “Here, we allow our studies to be Christ-centered in that everything points to the fact that we live in a post-Resurrection world. Also, every major event here at Christendom, be it class or a dance, is begun and ended with prayer. Everything we do is begun in God's name because we are reliant on His grace and our actions are re-consecrated to Him and Our Lady and crowned with a 'Salve Regina.'”


Tom McFaddenAsk the Director

Q. Someone told me I should go to your summer program, but I don't want to just experience the fun stuff – I'd rather find out more about the academics at Christendom. Do you do anything academic at your summer program?

We sure do! We named the summer program the "Experience Christendom" summer program for a reason. We want people to come to the one-week program and experience the three main aspects of the life of a Christendom student: the academic life, the spiritual life, and the fun/social life.

So, to that end, we incorporate academic, spiritual, and fun things into the entire program. Each Monday-Friday begins with breakfast, followed by three 50-minute classes: History, Philosophy, English. Following Mass and lunch, another 50-minute Theology class is taught by our College President, Dr. O'Donnell. Through these four excellent classes, students can get a pretty good feel of the academic nature of the College. Students are generally pretty amazed at the quality of our professors, the personal nature and size of the classes, and the amazing connectivity between all of the subjects. We send out some readings for students to prepare prior to attending, and this helps with some of the discussions in the classes.

Outside of the classes themselves, the students and counselors often continue talking about academic matters in some of the other activities that go on. This is similar to how it works at Christendom – classes end, but conversations about what went on in class continue over meals and in the residence halls.

Of course, our summer program also offers the participants opportunities to have fun and to grow closer to Christ through the Sacraments. We do our very best to show the students that, if they attend Christendom, they can have a well-rounded college experience.

If you are interested in attending the most popular, well-attended, and highly ranked summer program of its kind, I would highly recommend you register soon than later. Two of the four sessions are almost full and financial assistance is still available to those who ask.

  • Session 1: June 15-21 3 spots for women, 1 spot for men are available
  • Session 2: June 22-28 0 spots for women, 5 spots for men
  • Session 3: July 6-12 17 spots for women, 9 spots for men
  • Session 4: July 13-19 11 spots for women, 6 spots for men
God bless,