As the nation and the world slip deeper into moral relativism, Catholic families, like the Eschbach, DeJak, and Nunes families, are concerned more about the future health and well-being – both physical and spiritual – of their children during the college years. After learning about Christendom College and having their children enroll, they all decided that the “good news of Christendom” needed to be shared with their friends and family. Driven by a love for the college’s rigorous, Catholic liberal arts education, coupled with its vibrant Catholic culture, each of these families hosted a “Christendom 101” event at their homes — resulting in even more families finding an answer to how to help their children thrive in college.
“As Catholic parents, we want to be united with our children in Heaven,” say the Nunes family, who live in California. “So on earth, we want to give them the best tools possible for that end. In a time when the world feels so hostile, we are indebted to a college that gives them the freedom to be fully alive in their Catholic faith, to have a rigorous education in the pursuit of truth and wisdom, and to make a positive impact in the world as they get to know themselves and understand God’s call for them. Christendom College is committed to teaching the whole person.”
That desire to share resulted in the Nunes family hosting a “Christendom 101” event at their house. These events, managed by the college’s admissions office, encourage host families to invite their family and friends to their homes, local parishes or schools so that other families can learn more about the college from either a representative of the admissions office or from a current parent or student.
“Over the years, we have found that parents are our biggest fans — they want to promote the school,” says Associate Director of Admissions Michael Mazzara. “This inspired us to create ‘Christendom 101’ platform, empowering the parents to share their love of the college with their friends and colleagues in their local areas. Christendom is a unique college which often needs a broader conversation to gain attention. These events give opportunities for these conversations.”
Twenty to thirty “Christendom 101” events are held annually across the United States. Thanks to these intimate events, more students and parents are learning about the unique offerings of the college from other Christendom families — including in Michigan, thanks to the DeJak family.
The DeJak family hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. After going through their own journey to find a college where their son, JP, could thrive as a Catholic, they wanted to help other families find their own answer by hosting a “Christendom 101.”
“Rare is it for an institution of higher learning to engage—at a very intimate, personal, and enjoyable level—with potential families and articulate a vision of education that is both exciting and all-encompassing,” say the DeJaks. “If education means anything, it is the seeking of truth in the context of good friendships in which one is spurred joyfully to good and beautiful things. I’m convinced, and so were those who attended, that Christendom College does this. No wonder: it was the very means by which Christ Himself taught.”
Families that have attended Christendom 101 events have ultimately sent students to the college’s Experience Christendom Summer Program and even applied to the college’s undergraduate program as well. That was the experience for the Eschbachs, after they attended a Christendom 101 event in Arizona. After enjoying the hospitality of the host family and being excited by the school, their daughter, Julia, applied and was accepted. That experience influenced them to want to do the same in their home soon after.
“We wanted to be sure other families knew of Christendom when they were making the decisions about where their children attend college,” say the Eschbachs. “We have seen first-hand the supportive community, the faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the graces that have poured into our family from our daughter’s attendance.”
For families worried about the direction of today’s culture on college campuses, there is a solution in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Families like the Eschbachs, DeJaks, and Nunes’ are spreading that news in their local communities and helping to restore the culture.
“The greatest gift a parent can give is the gift of the faith,” concludes Mazzara. “Sadly, we live in a time where 80% of those who leave the Faith do so by the time they are 23 years old, and the number of Americans who identify as having “no religious background” is climbing at an alarming rate. Here at Christendom, our students learn the Truth, live the Faith, and thrive as Catholics – both on our campus and in their post-graduation pursuits. When parents host these events, they are playing a role in preserving that faith for their children and for the children of other families.”