When Christendom moved to online classes in mid-March, the Chaplaincy of Christendom College immediately started finding new ways to support students despite the distance. From video messages to daily emails, students received much needed spiritual support from Christendom’s devoted chaplaincy, helping them through an unexpectedly difficult semester.
From the beginning of the disruption to the regular academic schedule, the chaplaincy was aware that students would be facing a variety of new challenges. Like Catholics everywhere, not being able to regularly receive the Sacraments was a disheartening development and a jarring reality for Christendom students, who are accustomed to the daily opportunity to receive Communion, attend Confession, and adore our Eucharistic Lord.
In addition, students faced the added stress of a major adjustment mid-semester and the disappointments that came with not being able to live on campus. Aware of the many new challenges students would be facing, head chaplain Fr. Marcus Pollard began assisting students in the way he always does: by offering constructive spiritual advice.
Fr. Pollard’s preaching and counsel is characterized by practicality. During the school year, Fr. Pollard ends almost every homily by assigning “spiritual homework,” usually something like finding a way to show charity towards roommates or asking for the grace to be steadfast in one’s studies. Now, Fr. Pollard began to give practical advice about readjusting to life at home and maintaining a prayer life in the midst of such odd circumstances.
Fr. Pollard began to send out daily emails to students, which included reflections on the daily readings or the saint of the day. His emails always came with practical advice for how to best live out one’s vocation as a student, even amidst such odd circumstances. Fr. Pollard also advised students through a weekly video series called “Spiritual Homework with Fr. Pollard” in which Father would address students from various locations on campus, helping them to feel connected to campus.
“In the midst of everything we’re going through, it’s easy to just think of ourselves,” said Fr. Pollard in one of his weekly videos. “One of the hard things to do in any situation as stressful as this is to think of people who are struggling more than we are. Think of someone in your life who is having a harder time than you and pray for them and reach out to them.”
The chaplaincy also used a special email address for students to submit prayer intentions. Fr. Pollard and assistant chaplain Fr. Tom Szczepanczyk would remember those prayer intentions at their private Masses, and if requested by the student, Fr. Pollard would ask the entire Christendom community to pray for their intention. Knowing that the Christendom community was remembering their intentions was a great comfort to many students.
“Hearing from Fr. Pollard and knowing that our chaplains were praying for us students was very comforting during such a crazy time,” explained sophomore Elizabeth Hardt. “We are so lucky to have such devoted priests.”
Christendom has been blessed by the devoted Chaplains who have served the community through the years. While these past few months have certainly been difficult, the constant support of the chaplaincy has proven to be a great solace to students and has helped them draw closer to Christ.