The number of Catholic priests in the United States has dipped dramatically over the past fifty years, while the Catholic population continues to grow. People are in desperate need of good shepherds to guide them and help the next generation properly discern their vocations. Thankfully, Christendom alumni in the Diocese of Arlington are heeding the call and are now preparing to be priests, with alumni this year making up 16% of the seminarians in Christendom’s home Diocese of Arlington.
Since Christendom’s founding, many alumni have discerned a call to the priesthood and done their priestly studies in the college’s diocese. Just this past summer, Fr. Peter McShurley (’14) was ordained to the priesthood — the eighteenth alumnus priest in the diocese. Eight men are currently studying to follow in his footsteps: Philip Briggs, Andrew Clark, Deacon Jonathan Fioramonti, Joe Flaherty, Peter Foeckler, Deacon John Paul Heisler, Dominic Mann, and Deacon Joe Townsend. Deacons Fioramonti, Heisler, and Townsend are all on track to be ordained to the priesthood together next year, raising the total number of alumni priests in the diocese to over twenty.
Since Christendom’s founding, the college has helped foster vocations to the religious life with many even staying in the Diocese of Arlington, giving back generously to the community that helped birth Christendom in the first place. These alumni include: Fr. Carroll Oubre, Fr. Tom Vander Woude, Fr. Joseph Kenna, Fr. Bjorn Lundberg, Fr. Noah Morey, Fr. Matthew Zuberbueler, Fr. Steve McGraw, Fr. John Heisler, Fr. Vincent Bork, Fr. Kevin Beres, Fr. Michael Taylor, Fr. Kevin Walsh, Fr. Francis Peffley, Fr. Joseph Farrell, Fr. Nicholas Blank, Fr. Christopher Tipton, Fr. Denis Donahue, and Fr. Peter McShurley.
In 42 years, Christendom has been blessed to see so many religious vocations amongst its alumni. While Christendom was founded to help form lay people who would then impact every area of society, the college’s faithful Catholic liberal arts education has helped many alumni discover a religious vocation while they are students. In total, Christendom currently has 94 priests, 52 sisters, 6 brothers, 5 transitional deacons, 1 permanent deacon, and 17 other men currently studying for the priesthood, along with 504 alumna-to-alumnus marriages.