Christendom College is off to an impressive start this year, welcoming a student body of 398, the largest in its history, and ranking as one of the top 50 “All-American Colleges.” After a busy and successful summer, which drew hundreds from across the globe to its Front Royal campus for its High School Summer Program and Summer Institute, Christendom is ready to engage its 30th academic year.

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrated Christendom’s opening Mass of the Holy Spirit where he witnessed the whole Christendom College faculty make an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church and the Holy Father. “Most Catholic universities make this requirement for their theology departments only, but all the faculty at Christendom take this freely and willingly. Certainly this expresses our deep desire to maintain a strong Catholic identity,” College Chaplain Fr. John Heisler explained.

In his homily, Bishop Loverde urged students “to make time for prayer.” The Church has handed down a rich liturgy as well as the rosary and novenas, the bishop explained. “It is through hearing that we see,” the bishop, quoting St. Bernard of Clairvaux, continued. “Taking time to listen to God through prayer we will see God and come to know him.”

A total of 124 new students have arrived, 96 of which are freshmen. This year’s freshman class boasts a 50:50 ratio of men to women, an unusual statistic for liberal arts colleges, which usually attract more women. Of the freshmen class, 14% are from Virginia, while the rest hail from 32 other states and Canada.

“We had a record number of applications this year and, as usual, a waiting list,” Director of Admissions Tom McFadden said. “This year is looking to be one of our best. The new students’ spirits seem to be very high and I have no doubt that it’s the result of the Catholic air that they are breathing here-some for the first time.”

Students are already enjoying much of the fine improvements on campus, including newly re-painted and re-carpeted dormitories, a bricked up Blessed Margaret Hall dormitory, and the new look for Regina Coeli Hall, which has undergone a “face lift”, adding beautiful rose-hued-stone walk ways and a fountain.

“It’s just the start of a series of improvements that we are planning,” said Director of Operations Mike Foeckler. “There are plans for other quality enhancements and even the expansion of our Christ the King Chapel.”

Students are also enjoying the new fully loaded John Paul the Great Student Center, which opened last spring. Not only are students taking advantage of the immediate access to mailboxes, the game room, and the beautifully furnished St. Kilian’s Café, but also the offices of the dean of student life and the college chaplain are readily accessible.

Sophomore Dean Reineking is a huge fan of the Student Center. “It’s a great place to relax and take a break from my studies or just simply meet my friends for a cappuccino. Also, I’m really looking forward to the open-mike nights at the café planned this semester. There is so much talent on this campus and it will be great to see it on a regular basis,” he said.

The junior year semester abroad in Rome has taken a surge in popularity. A total of 80 students will participate in the program this year, spending an enriching three months in the Eternal City. Many will have the opportunity to greet Pope Benedict XVI in person.

“I am so happy to see an increased interest in the semester abroad in Rome. It is so important in the formation of the Catholic mind to visit Rome – to see where we come from – our home away from home,” President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell said. “Encountering another culture, church history, and the roots of western civilization on such and intimate level is a beautiful experience that no one should miss.”

Christendom College has been featured in this year’s top College guides, including Peterson’s Competitive Colleges, U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, NewsMax Magazine, and ISI’s popular new publication, All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith.

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