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Christendom focuses on new chapel

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Christendom College in Front Royal began its 43rd academic year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated in the Chapel of Christ the King by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge Aug. 25.

At Mass, the entire faculty made an oath of fidelity to the magisterium and made a profession of faith, stating that they would not teach anything contrary to the faith in any of their academic areas of expertise. Although required for professors who teach theology at the college level, Christendom’s entire faculty voluntarily takes this oath each year, giving both students and their parents the confidence that they will receive a truly Catholic education.

“I want to begin by thanking you and your gifted and talented administration and faculty for providing our students with such a sacred place to continue their education, to deepen their relationship with the Lord, and to grow in Truth and be prepared to articulate that Truth wherever the Lord sends them,” said Bishop Burbidge during his homily. “As I say so often, Christendom College is a treasure within the Diocese of Arlington and a great gift to our Holy Catholic Church. I am so proud of this college and of our students.”

Bishop Burbidge continued: “As you come forward this morning to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, trust Him with your hopes and dreams for this new academic year. Ask Jesus for the grace to provide a fitting dwelling place for Him to live within you so that you may be fully alive through your witness and good deeds, and radiate the light of Christ to others. And pray God that one day you will enter through that narrow gate and live with Him for ever and ever. Amen.”

This year’s enrollment hovers around the 500 mark, consistent with last year, and includes more than 165 new students, including 143 freshmen. The freshmen come from 34 U.S. states, as well as from Canada, Ireland and the Cayman Islands, with 35 percent hailing from Virginia. This year’s incoming freshman class has an average SAT score of 1250 with 73 percent having previously attended the college’s Experience Christendom summer program. Twenty-seven of the freshmen are children of alumni while 70 percent of them are on academic scholarship.

Looking forward to the upcoming year, a number of new initiatives are planned. In late summer, the college signed Hoar Construction as the general contractor for the new Christ the King Chapel project. After initial site work and the issuance of necessary permits, construction on the chapel began the second week of August. The chapel should be completed in spring 2022.

The new chapel will provide much needed space for the college’s growing student body providing seating for more than 940 people. Containing more than 100 stained-glass windows, the chapel will be constructed at the highest point of the campus, making the 116-foot-tall Gothic tower visible for miles.

The college’s unique integrated career development program of courses required will see some improvements this year. Focusing on enabling students to achieve professional success immediately after graduation, on top of the required courses on resume and cover letter writing, interview prep, networking and internships, the career development staff is adding dining etiquette workshops, as well as a series on “adulting,” which will include everything from budgeting and money management, to buying a car, renting an apartment, building credit and everything a new graduate would need to know.

In the area of academics, a number of new professors are joining the faculty this fall, including Daniel McInerny, Kathleen Sullivan and Larissa Fedoryka. McInerny, who is an author, playwright and philosopher, will join the philosophy department as a full-time associate professor while Sullivan will teach in the English language and literature department as a one-year visiting professor. Fedoryka is an accomplished cellist who earned her doctorate in musical arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has toured with various artists such as Marco Antonio Solis, Croatia’s former pop artist Tajci, the Celtic/Americana band Scythian, and Mexico’s pop diva Gloria Trevi. She will join the music department as she teaches a course on music theory.

McFadden is vice president of enrollment at Christendom College in Front Royal.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019