Christendom Faculty Makes Oath to Begin New Academic Year Welcoming Largest Class and New Library

August 23, 2004

At Christendom College's opening Mass of the Holy Spirit, His Excellency Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, amidst the College's largest student body to date – 371 students – received the Oath of Fidelity from Christendom's entire faculty. The Mass was held on August 22 in the College's Chapel of Christ the King.

1At the beginning of each new academic year, although not mandated by ecclesial law, Christendom's entire faculty voluntarily takes the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

At a time in higher education when many people feel that there is a conflict between "academic freedom" and "religion," Christendom College President Timothy T. O'Donnell says that there can be no real conflict between faith and reason.

"Faith and reason both have a common source in God and they're meant to work in a harmonious fashion," says O'Donnell. "So rather than seeing the Catholic faith as something that's not compatible with reason, as though you have to set your reason aside if you're going to be a Catholic, we follow the teaching of the Church, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas, and affirm as our Holy Father teaches in Fides et Ratio and Ex Corde Ecclesiae, that there can be no real conflict between faith and reason."

In his homily, Bishop Loverde compared the life of a Christendom College student to the life of an Olympic athlete. Both student and athlete must live disciplined lives in order to be victorious in their respective fields. Students must have discipline of daily prayer, of sacramental participation, of intellectual study, and of personal growth.

1"You are training here by participating in the disciplined life of a disciple of Christ. And, if you let Him, the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you," said Bishop Loverde. "It is the role of the Holy Spirit to form in you, as He did in the Blessed Virgin Mary, the image of Christ. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to lead you in prayer, to guide in your intellectual pursuits, and in your personal growth. This is why we are beginning this academic year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

"Be open to the training you are receiving, a training destined to lead you to win the Olympics of the Catholic faith and to build up the Kingdom of God by your articulate and committed practice of the faith in the wider society in what you will live," concluded His Excellency.

Later in the fall semester the College looks forward to the opening of its newest building – the 40,000 sq. ft. St. John the Evangelist library.

A remarkable piece of classical Virginia Architecture designed by the architects at O'Brien and Keane, the new St. John the Evangelist library will serve as the academic center of the campus, and the embodiment of the College's commitment to the vision and nobility of Catholic education.

"The students of Christendom College deserve this library," says Director of Admissions Tom McFadden. "Since our founding in 1977, students have been attending Christendom for the unique educational experience that we offer, and not for the buildings. And although that will probably never change, it is nice to be able to offer them this state-of-the-art and aesthetically pleasing library."

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, will formally bless and dedicate the library on October 9. The library was designed with Pope John Paul II's monumental work, Fides et Ratio, in mind with the opening line of that encyclical being inscribed above the entry way into the library. Additionally, an original work of art – a bust of His Holiness Pope John Paul II – will be displayed at the end of the main hallway, visible for all to see upon entering the building.

Current plans for the library dedication event include a Mass of Thanksgiving, a Blessing of the Library and Papal Bust, catered food and beverages in the Library, and the performance of an original orchestra piece, composed and directed by Christendom's own Dr. Kurt Poterack. The piece will be dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, the patron of the library.

Joining the returning student body at Christendom this fall are 116 new students, coming to rural Front Royal from all across America and beyond. Although the only Catholic college in Virginia, Christendom has always attracted far more out-of-state students than native Virginians.



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