Christendom hosted donors, board members, and alumni for the annual Christmas at Christendom celebration. President’s Council and Legacy members were welcomed for a day of scheduled events on campus, including two Principles lectures, a tour of the construction site of the new Christ the King Chapel, a cocktail hour, and awards dinner.
The celebration began with 11:30 Mass, followed by a luncheon with students. Afterwards, Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas, Professor of Theology, presented the Principles lecture, “Fatima to Vatican II: Mary, Mother of the Church and Individually our Loving Mother.” Professor Sharon Hickson, who teaches literature, later presented a lecture about Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. These lectures were an excellent opportunity for visitors to engage in the intellectual culture of Christendom.
Visitors also were able to tour the construction site for the new Christ the King Chapel. Project Manager Pat Haggerty led the tour, giving benefactors a chance to ask questions about the construction process. Last year at Christmas at Christendom, the community celebrated the successful completion of the Call to Greatness Campaign, which raised $45 million to fund the construction of the new chapel. A year later, construction is in full swing, and the steel frame of the chapel has already begun to rise.
Over dinner, Dr. O’Donnell offered an advent reflection, and awards were presented. Dr. John F. Ward received the St. John Paul II Legacy Award. This award recognizes an outstanding member of the Saint John Paul II Legacy Society. Members of the Legacy Society have shown their personal commitment to orthodox Catholic higher education and the formation of the next generation of Catholic leaders by including Christendom in their estate plans. Not only has Dr. Ward included Christendom in his will, but he served on the Christendom board from 1979-1981, some of the college’s most formative years.
“For 40 years Dr. Ward has given faithful and generous support to the Christendom College community,” remarked college President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “Dr. Ward’s commitment to preserving the mission of Christendom College for future generations really does reflect Saint John Paul II’s lasting legacy to restore Christian culture within Catholic Higher Education.”
Dr. Ward graciously received the award. “It’s joyful that we can see such dedicated and sincere believing Catholics here,” he shared with tears in his eyes. “It’s positively the greatest joy of my life to be able to do something for you.”
The new St. John Henry Newman Cor ad Cor Award was presented to Pat and Betsy Bickford in appreciation for their generous and steadfast support of the college. This new award honors supporters who reflects St. John Henry Newman’s deep commitment to authentic Catholic education. The Bickfords have taken a particular leadership role in making it possible for Christendom to remain free from federal funding, which allows Christendom to teach the faith without interference from the government.
Pat and Betsy Bickford have been members of the Christendom community for 25 years. “They give of themselves quietly, humbly, and lovingly to our college,” said Dr. O’Donnell. “The world is a better place because they are in it.”
Christendom benefactors are dear members of the Christendom community. Christmas at Christendom was a small way for the community to show its deep appreciation for the steadfast support of our donors.