Christendom College began its 43rd academic year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit offered in the Chapel of Christ the King by Bishop Michael Burbidge on Sunday, August 25.
At that Mass, the entire faculty made an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium and made a profession of Faith, stating that they would not teach anything contrary to the Faith in any of their academic areas of expertise. Although required for professors who teach theology at the college level, Christendom’s entire faculty voluntarily takes this oath each year, giving both students and their parents the confidence that they will receive a truly Catholic education.
“I want to begin by thanking you and your gifted and talented administration and faculty for providing our students with such a sacred place to continue their education, to deepen their relationship with the Lord, and to grow in Truth and be prepared to articulate that Truth wherever the Lord sends them,” said Bishop Burbidge during his homily. “As I say so often, Christendom College is a treasure within the Diocese of Arlington and a great gift to our Holy Catholic Church. I am so proud of this college and of our students.”
He continued: “As you come forward this morning to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, trust Him with your hopes and dreams for this new academic year. Ask Jesus for the grace to provide a fitting dwelling place for Him to live within you so that you may be fully alive through your witness and good deeds, and radiate the light of Christ to others. And pray God that one day you will enter through that narrow gate and live with Him for ever and ever. Amen.”
This year’s enrollment of 493 undergraduates includes 167 new students, including 143 freshmen. The freshmen come from 34 U.S. States, as well as from Canada, Ireland, and the Cayman Islands, with 35% hailing from Virginia. This year’s incoming freshman class has an average SAT score of 1250 with 73% having previously attended the college’s Experience Christendom Summer Program. Twenty-seven of the freshmen are legacy students, and 70% of the freshmen are on academic scholarship.
Over Orientation Weekend, new students had the opportunity to meet their classmates and learn more about life at Christendom. On Friday, the Welcome Weekend Committee helped new students to move into the residence halls. Freshman Caroline McDermott remarked, “Everyone I met moving in was so welcoming and helpful, and I could really sense the energy of the students and staff.”
That night the Student Activities Council hosted a social to welcome the freshmen and transfers. On Saturday, new students attended a series of talks to prepare them for life at Christendom. That evening there was a game night in the gym which included the highly anticipated dodgeball games. On Sunday, new and returning students attended the opening Mass with Bishop Burbidge, followed by brunch and an opening address by Dr. O’Donnell. On Sunday evening students were invited to Dr. Cuddeback’s property for the annual barn dance and cookout. Students enjoyed lawn games, tug of war competitions, hayrides, and of course, contra dancing. Orientation Weekend was certainly an exciting whirlwind for our new students.
“Everyone I have met at Christendom is so energetic and full of joy! Orientation weekend exceeded my already high expectations,” said freshman Bridget Crnkovich
Looking forward to the upcoming year, a number of exciting new initiatives are planned.
In late summer, the college signed Hoar Construction as the General Contractor for the new Christ the King Chapel project. After initial site work and the issuance of necessary permits, full construction operations on the Christ the King Chapel began the second week of August. The chapel should be completed in spring 2022 for use by the college community.
The new Christ the King Chapel will provide much needed space for the college’s growing student body providing seating for over 940 people. Containing over 100 stained-glass windows, the chapel will be constructed at the highest point of the campus, making the 116-foot-tall Gothic tower visible for miles.
The college’s career development program of courses, which students are required to complete each of their four years, will see some improvements this year. Focusing on enabling students to achieve professional success immediately post-graduation, on top of the required courses on resume and cover letter writing, interview prep, networking, and internships, the career development staff is adding dining etiquette workshops, as well as a series on “adulting,” which will include everything from budgeting and money management, to buying a car, renting an apartment, building credit, and everything a new graduate would need to know.
In the area of academics, a number of new professors have joined the faculty this fall, including Dr. Daniel McInerny, Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, and Dr. Larissa Fedoryka. McInerny, who is an author, playwright, and philosopher, joins the philosophy department as a full-time associate professor. Sullivan is teaching in the English language and literature department as a one-year visiting professor. Fedoryka, who is an accomplished cellist and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has toured with various artists such as Marco Antonio Solis, Croatia’s former pop artist Tajci, the increasingly well-known Celtic/Americana band – Scythian, and most recently with Mexico’s pop diva Gloria Trevi. She is joining the music department and will be teaching a course on music theory.
As the first day of classes comes to an end, the feeling of excitement at Christendom is tangible. With so many fresh faces on campus, and many exciting changes and projects on the horizon, Christendom’s 43rd year is proving to be an exciting one already.