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Alumni Excel in Rome

November 8, 2019

For alumni Garrett Quigley (’18) and AJ Lancaster (’19), their formal study of philosophy and theology did not end at graduation. These two young men are continuing their education at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome.

Quigley is working towards earning a Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology (STB) while Lancaster is working on his Baccalaureate of Philosophy (Ph.B), with hopes of earning a Licentiate of Philosophy (Ph.L). Quigley plans to use his degree to teach at the high school level, and Lancaster also hopes to be involved with education in the future.

According to Quigley and Lancaster, Christendom has a great academic reputation in Rome and has prepared them well for their graduate studies.

“Christendom has a highly respected reputation at the Angelicum,” remarked Lancaster. “The professors with whom I have spoken are never doubtful as to whether I have the prerequisite knowledge of writing, doctrine, Thomism, Aristotelianism, history of philosophy, etc., to succeed. Christendom alumni have a history of not only holding their own at the Angelicum but excelling.”

Not only did Christendom lay a strong intellectual foundation, but Christendom’s semester in Rome program also played an essential role in preparing these alumni to attend the Angelicum. Quigley participated in the Rome program in the spring of 2017 and Lancaster attended the following semester. Having studied in Rome with Christendom, both Quigley and Lancaster were given the skills to engage in a new culture and live in a foreign place.

Quigley and Lancaster arrived in Rome acquainted with the transportation system, familiar with the layout of the city, and even with some working knowledge of Italian, which were all useful benefits of having studied in Rome with Christendom. But most importantly, these alumni felt that they can truly engage with the culture and history of Rome, which they would not have been able to do had they not taken advantage of the semester in Rome program while undergraduates.

Lancaster during his semester in Rome with Christendom.

“The Rome Program placed a huge emphasis on the connection between where we were and what we were studying,“ said Lancaster, who believes that the Rome program gave him an awareness and appreciation for the rich spiritual history of Rome. “Every day I walk in the footsteps of the saints, and on the path of history; it would be a huge shame to not appreciate these moments,” he remarked.

For Quigley, it was the mentorship he found by participating in the Rome program that ultimately led him back to the eternal city. Fr. Giordano, who taught theology for the Rome program, proposed the idea of studying at the Angelicum to Quigley.

“At first I hesitated because of so many unknowns,” recalled Quigley. “Tuition prices, the duration of study, the cost of living in Rome, and finding housing are daunting even if you are the adventurous type.”

But Fr. Giordano, who became a mentor to Quigley, offered plenty of guidance and practical help, enabling him to pursue an education at the Angelicum.

Quigley and Lancaster had the opportunity to meet Cardinal Burke.

The experience of studying and living in Rome has been remarkable for both Lancaster and Quigley. These young men have been able to make connections with Catholics from around the world, experiencing the universality of the Church firsthand. And of course, the chance to live in Rome is a tremendous opportunity to grow spiritually.

“There are over 500 churches in Rome, so if you ever need a moment to step away from the hustle and bustle of ‘city life,’ there’s a tabernacle waiting for you just around the corner,” said Lancaster. “I am extremely blessed to be here.”

Quigley and Lancaster are not the only alumni doing great things in the Eternal City. Alumnus Fr. Michael Baggot is a theology teacher for the college’s semester in Rome, and alumnus Joe Long organizes pilgrimages in Italy through his company, ProRome Tours.

As Christendom alumni embark on the mission to “restore all things in Christ,” in all corners of the world, the college continues to grow its international network.