Education Principles | Laity & Religious

An Education for the Laity

Students educated in the liberal arts at Christendom College are well prepared for their role as laity in Christ’s Church.  The curriculum is primarily designed for young men and women who will live and work in the world with other laymen, who must face the problems and challenges in that state of life, and who will contribute as laymen to the fulfillment of the mission of the Church.

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity stresses the importance of the laity’s share in the priestly office of Christ and in the salvific mission of the Church.  In their jobs, their families, their schools, their society, and their personal relationships, the Catholic laity are called to promote salvation by their example and witness, by bringing the message of the Gospel to men, and most especially by informing and penetrating their temporal society with the spirit of the Gospel.  It is Christendom College’s hope and expectation that the graduate of Christendom is, in the words of the Apostolic Exhortation Christefideles Laici, “to take an active, conscientious and responsible part in the mission of the Church in this great moment of history” in this Third Millennium of Grace.

Those men and women who take seriously their vocation as Christian laity will find in the integrated program of studies at Christendom College excellent preparation for whatever type of apostolic activity they may undertake in later life.  The liberal arts curriculum, which develops students into leaders capable of influencing others and changing their society, when totally informed by the truths of the Faith, produces men and women whose natural leadership will be apostolically oriented.

In addition, intensive study of Christian social and political principles, especially as taught in the papal encyclicals of the past two centuries, not only acquaints students with the virtue of social justice and its application to current social problems but also provides them with a veritable program of social reconstruction, their primary task as Catholic laity.

The liberal arts education provided by Christendom College, then, enables its students to respond enthusiastically to the call of the Second Vatican Council (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, 33):

The Council, then, makes an earnest plea in the Lord’s name that all lay people give a glad, generous, and prompt response to the impulse of the Holy Spirit and to the voice of Christ, who is giving them an especially urgent invitation at this moment.  Young people should feel that this call is directed to them in particular, and they should respond to it eagerly and magnanimously.  The Lord himself renews His invitation to all the lay faithful to come closer to Him every day, and with the recognition that what is His is also their own (Phil 2:5), they ought to associate themselves with Him in His saving mission. Once again He sends them into every town and place where He himself is to come (cf. Luke 10:1).

Thus, when the question is asked, “What can you do with a liberal arts education?” the answer should be clear: “Whatever I am called to do.”

An Education Productive of Religious Vocations

While the primary purpose of Christendom College’s foundation was to provide a revitalized Catholic laity, by the grace of God we have also produced a significant number of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.

Our curriculum in philosophy and sacred theology provides a superlative preparation for seminarians and pre-seminarians, and for those young men and women who will be the leaven of new or revitalized religious orders.

Christendom College is proud of its alumnae and alumni who have joined such orders as the Benedictines, Carmelites, Dominicans, Fathers of Mercy, Miles Jesu, the Oblates of Our Lady of Fatima, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Poor Clares, Salesians, and many others.  We are likewise proud of those who have joined the ranks of the diocesan clergy in, for example, the dioceses of Arlington, Virginia; Burlington, Vermont; Lincoln, Nebraska; Manchester, New Hampshire; Peoria, Illinois; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; St. Augustine, Florida; and several foreign nations.  Through the development of actively faithful and liberally educated clergy and religious, Christendom College is playing a role beyond all human calculation in the universal task to restore all things in Christ.