“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your worries upon him for he cares for you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” – 1 Peter 5:6-10
Dear Christendom College Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff:
Pax Christi! In the passage above, St. Peter calls us to courage and holy trust, urging us, especially at a time such as this, to resist temptations to despair, anger, or uncharity. In a moment like this one—where we are unable even to receive Our Eucharistic Lord in some places—we can be tempted to doubt God’s goodness and mercy. But our faith is mightier than this moment, our hope rooted in something more than the difficulties of the day. Jesus Christ remains with us always.
Having taken stock of the situation in our nation and with holy trust in God’s providence, I write today to inform you that Christendom College has decided to move to online instruction for students beginning next Monday, March 23. This step is taken with the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff in mind, along with that of the elderly and immunocompromised among us.
We sincerely pray that students would be able to return as early as April 15, during Easter week, and that a celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection might coincide with a joyous reuniting of our Christendom Community. Given the latest restrictions, however, and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this possibility is beginning to appear less and less likely. We will inform the community by April 6 about the feasibility of students returning to campus after Easter. Even if students are able to return to campus during the semester, all should plan on continuing online teaching so as to ensure that students do not need to adjust a third time to changing modes of instruction in already stressful circumstances.
This prudential judgment has been extremely difficult to make but is necessary given a number of factors, including the new recommendations of President Trump, the state of emergency declared by Virginia’s governor, and the recent recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. In addition, we have also been informed by our bishop that all Masses in the Diocese of Arlington have been cancelled until further notice. Our Chaplains must also abide by this directive and have cancelled all Masses in the Chapel of Christ the King. We all bear responsibility for prudent restrictions at this time.
Christendom College has decided to take the following steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, especially the most vulnerable members of our community:
- Online Instruction to Begin March 23rd: Academic Dean Ben Reinhard will communicate with students today, March 17, about logistics for accessing class material and communicating with professors. All online course material will be hosted on the Library’s familiar Class Pages website.
- Student Life Concerns and Access to Belongings: Access to campus to retrieve belongings will be restricted. Miss Amanda Graf will communicate to students today, March 17, about this issue as well as a range of Student Life concerns and can be reached via email with individual questions.
- On Campus Building Closure: On campus buildings like the gymnasium, commons and library will be closed to the public, and available only to faculty and staff who have a need to utilize them.
- Current On-Campus Precautions: All key areas of campus will receive a “deep clean” this week, we will continue to regularly disinfect “touch points” (e.g. doorknobs, faucet handles, etc.), and will do our best to ensure that the hand sanitizer stations in campus buildings are always resupplied.
I am deeply saddened that our students cannot receive their full residential educational experience during this time. Yet God’s ways are not our ways, and in this challenging time we should deepen our prayer, asking for insight in how we can best act for His greater glory even now. So often throughout history, Christian witness in times of trial moved others to embrace the faith. Our faith and peace of soul is surely meant to be a shining light needed by a weary and broken world. What a powerful message God can convey through us if we let Him, showing others our faith in a life after this earthly existence, and our hope in Our Savior who bears our suffering and sin to make possible our eternal happiness
I would like to share with you the prayer that we are reciting at my parish that seems particularly appropriate now. I ask that you join me in praying it every day, entrusting all of our intentions to Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.
Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,
Dr. Timothy O’Donnell
Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.
As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son.
Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially for protection and healing for all peoples, entrusting to you our parish, families, healthcare workers, and each one of us.
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting.
Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.