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Convocation launches Christendom College anniversary

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Christendom College in Front Royal recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with an academic convocation where it honored renowned philosopher and theologian Jesuit Father James Schall; Mother Mary Assumpta Long, founder of the Dominicans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; and pro-life heroes Chris and Joan Bell.

Father Schall received an honorary doctorate during the event, Mother Mary Assumpta received the college’s St. Catherine of Siena Award and the Bells were awarded the college’s Pro Deo et Patria medal.

Father Schall was unable to attend the convocation, but said he was honored to receive the doctorate. He sent his congratulations to the founders, students, faculty, staff and alumni on the 40th anniversary and compared the college to the Nativity, saying that big things can come from small beginnings.

“To found anything is an awesome thing,” wrote Father Schall. “To put something into existence that otherwise would never appear is both an act of faith and a rash hope.”

The Bells praised the college for its joy and fidelity to the magisterium of the church and encouraged the students to continue following and fighting for the truths of the faith, wherever they may be.

“I think, despite any bad things going on in the world, we can live in perfect joy by simply saying ‘yes’ to Jesus, and with that yes we will know not only peace, but perfect joy,” said Joan.

“With God, and with God’s love, there really is no fear,” said Chris. “I believe that your great love will be blessed by God, whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it.”

Mother Mary Assumpta spoke warmly of the college and its founders during her remarks.

“Many people here remember the turmoil in the church in the ’60s and ’70s and to think that Dr. Warren Carroll, in 1977, took this tremendous leap of faith and thought that we have got to educate our young people in the faith and a true Catholic education,” she said. “Talk about a leap of faith, because I remember when he started that he had $50,000, 26 students and five faculty members. We’ve come a long way since then.

“Dr. O’Donnell, as the third president, is continuing this great tradition, seeing the need for wonderful Catholic institutions that teach the truth, the beauty and the good,” she said. “It’s exciting, and the best way that I can say how much I appreciate this college is to ask: what would it be like without Christendom College?”

The college concluded the event with a fireworks display that illuminated the night sky above the Shenandoah Valley.

In addition to the convocation, the college is hosting several events throughout the anniversary year, including a gala at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington April 14.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017