Seminarians pose for a photo with Bishop Burbidge, including alumni Andrew Clark (left)  and Joseph Flaherty (right). Photo courtesy Arlington Catholic Herald.

Christendom College was founded in 1977 by a lay man, Dr. Warren H. Carroll, who was inspired by two documents from Vatican II which promoted the teachings on the universal call to holiness and the important role of the laity in the mission of the Church. As such, he founded Christendom College with the primary purpose of forming lay apostles by developing in them a life-long commitment to the lay apostolate, together with providing at a high level of academic quality, the knowledge and skill required to fulfill that apostolic commitment, whatever their individual profession or vocation may be.

Over the past 41 years, the majority of Christendom alumni have taken an active role in the lay apostolate, by choosing the noble vocation to marriage, and rebuilding the temporal order by building up the domestic church – the family – in society through their witness to strong, faithful marriages and the rearing and education of many children.

But, in spite of the emphasis on the education and formation of lay apostles, God must have seen something ideal about Christendom – its education, environment, culture, offerings, and integrated Catholic life – and decided that it was a fruitful pasture for a rich harvest of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. And so He began calling the students and alumni to “come follow” Him.

Over the past 41 years, God has chosen 91 alumni to become other Christs, and serve Him and His Church in the ministerial priesthood. He has helped 53 women hear His call to embrace His Son as their Holy Spouse by giving up the world and serving Him as religious nuns and sisters. Additionally, there are over 30 other young men who are currently brothers in religious orders, permanent deacons, or studying in the seminary.

Recently, three alumni men took one step closer to answering God’s call to the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Andrew Clark ‘14 and Joseph Flaherty ’11 just celebrated their Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders for the Diocese of Arlington, VA., while Dominic Mann ’18 just entered the seminary for the diocese, as well.

Coming off a summer where 5 alumni were ordained to the priesthood, including one for the Diocese of Arlington, Fr. Nicholas Blank ’13, the number of priestly and religious vocations is most certainly on the rise. Other alumni serving the Diocese of Arlington are Fr. Carroll Oubre, Fr. Tom Vander Woude, Fr. Joseph Kenna, Fr. Bjorn Lundberg, Fr. Noah Morey, Fr. Matthew Zuberbueler, Fr. Steve McGraw, Fr. John Heisler, Fr. Vincent Bork, Fr. Kevin Beres, Fr. Michael Taylor, Fr. Kevin Walsh, Fr. Francis Peffley, Fr. Joseph Farrell, Fr. Christopher Tipton, and Fr. Denis Donahue.

Seminarians, including alumnus Dominic Mann (back, third from left) pose for a photo with Bishop Burbidge. Photo courtesy Arlington Catholic Herald.

Besides being ordained for diocesan ministry, many Christendom alumni have found homes in other societies or orders, including the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Fathers of Mercy.  Currently, there are eight alumni vocations with the Fraternity of St. Peter, including Fr. Gerard Saguto, Fr. Joseph Portzer, Fr. Thomas Longua, Fr. Chris Pelster, Fr. Daniel Heenan, Fr. Zach Akers, Fr. John Killackey, and Deacon David McWhirter, while alumni Fr. Ben Cameron, Fr. David Wilton, Fr. Bill Casey, Fr. Tony Stephens, Fr. Louis Caporiccio, and Fr. Frank Fusare givie missions across the nation as Fathers of Mercy.

Although founded for lay people, by lay people, for the purpose of forming lay apostles, the college’s emphasis on teaching the Truth, incorporating Catholic theology and philosophy throughout its entire curriculum, and maintaining a vibrant Catholic lived experience for its students is appealing to people interested in pursuing a religious vocation. Besides growing in their knowledge and love of Christ and His Church, they are given a unique opportunity to experience a lived Catholicism.

Through the entire educational experience, students are well-prepared for whatever calling God has put on their hearts, and the campus culture, rather than being toxic and adverse to the call to holiness, is complimentary and supportive, thus enabling graduates to embrace their call to holiness and live a life of virtue – no matter the vocational calling.

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