Pope Benedict XVI Greets Christendom College and Blesses Cornerstone

March 10, 2008

2At Wednesday’s Papal audience on March 5, Pope Benedict XVI personally acknowledged Christendom College in his address and then blessed a marble cornerstone for the planned addition to Christendom’s Christ the King Chapel. Later that evening the College celebrated its thirtieth anniversary with a reception for its many friends in Rome.

“I extend particular greetings to the visitors from Christendom College,” Pope Benedict XVI said at the close of his address. “May this Lenten season purify your hearts and renew your faith and your hope in the mystery of Christ our Redeemer. God bless you all!”

Following the address the Holy Father came down to greet the many pilgrims. “Ah, Christendom College!” the Pope said as Christendom College Chairman of the Board Donna Bethell and President Timothy O’Donnell introduced themselves.
 
O’Donnell then presented an artist’s rendition of the planned chapel renovation. “It’s very beautiful,” the Pope said.  He blessed the drawing and then blessed the cornerstone.

1Members of Christendom’s Board of Directors, faculty, and staff were joined by others on a 10-day pilgrimage to Rome celebrating the college’s 30th anniversary.  Christendom’s students enrolled in its Semester in Rome Program also attended the audience along with the pilgrims. All of them were given special tickets by Francis Cardinal Arinze, a good friend of the college.

That evening 50 representatives of the college, including board members, faculty, staff, alumni, and students enjoyed a reception celebrating the college’s 30th anniversary at the historic Hotel Columbus. Francis Cardinal Arinze, Renato Cardinal Martino, United States Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, Vatican Radio Director Sean Lovett, and Scripture scholar Scott Hahn were among the many in attendance.

“Paul VI once cried out at an audience and repeated, ‘Where is the love for the Church?’ Christendom College is a response to that cry,” O’Donnell said during remarks at the reception. “During a time of infidelity and betrayal in the Church, Christendom has risen to be a place where faith and reason thrive—a place that is training future leaders of the Church who will go out and restore all things in Christ.”

Alumna Joannie Watson gave an address to those in attendance.  “At too many institutions of higher learning, you are taught what to think. At Christendom, you are taught how to think,” she said.

Cardinal Arinze and Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls will join the college as it hosts a 30th Anniversary Celebratory Gala Dinner and Dance at the Washington-Dulles Hilton on April 19.

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