I had the pleasure of meeting my friend, Father Donald Planty, at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia last week. Fr. Planty is the Head Chaplain at Christendom and is a professor of theology. Fr. Planty loves his work as a priest at Christendom and enjoys the energy and enthusiasm of the students he serves. Fr. Planty is very active teaching two courses in theology and saying daily mass in both Latin and English, and offering confession. Fr. Planty engages his students in spirit-filled field trips and shares his faith in many ways including using Facebook to inspire with messages of blessings and joy. One student told me that he was really honored to have him as their priest at Christendom. Fr. Planty has served as a priest at The Vatican, and as a pastor to several churches in the Arlington Diocese before being assigned to Christendom.
The heart of the campus is the the Chapel of Christ The King. I was honored to experience my first Latin Mass with Fr. Planty presiding. All of the students are taught the Latin Mass as part of their curriculum and it was clear in this Mass that they all knew it well (I was the one lost looking for the correct words to say at the Mass). The Mass experience at Christendom is beautiful and all the students show a true devotion to the services as nearly all the students attend daily Mass. At the back of the church there are a number of saints relics including a chalice that was a gift to Christendom College from Blessed John Paul II.
The campus of Christendom College is very beautiful, and has all of the amenities of a modern college campus. There are many great halls for study as well as places for prayer and contemplation. The men’s and women’s dorms are separate, and there is an active campus life amongst students offering many activities and services. The library the campus has is first rate and reported on their website: Completed in 2004, the beautiful St. John the Evangelist Library, named in honor of Our Lord’s “beloved disciple,” is the hub of the educational resources for Christendom College. The Library has a high quality collection of more than 90,000 volumes specifically designed to support the Catholic liberal arts curriculum of the undergraduate College, the theological, philosophical, and catechetical studies of the Notre Dame Graduate School, and faculty research.
Christendom College has a true “Catholic” identity in its philosophy of teaching. The website explains the mission:
Founded in 1977 in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution which swept across America in the 1960s, Christendom’s goal is to provide a truly Catholic education in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and thereby to prepare students for their role of restoring all things in Christ.
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Christendom’s 84-hour core curriculum of carefully selected subjects required for all of its undergraduate students consists of three years of study in Theology, three years in Philosophy, two years in English Language and Literature, two years in Classical or Modern Language, two years in History, one year in Political Science and Economics, and one year in Mathematics and Natural Science.
Video about spiritual life at Christendom College:
Video about student life at Christendom College:
Christendom College was founded by Dr. Warren H. Carroll who passed away this year, and is now buried on campus in a simple grave overlooking the picturesque Shenandoah River. Dr. Carroll was a convert to Catholicism, and went on to found Christendom College in 1977 when he wanted to start a co-educational liberal arts undergraduate college in response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for the formation of lay apostles. Christendom College started in 1977 with 26 students, and today has grown to over 400 undergraduate and 100 graduate students. Christendom College is now recognized as one the nation’s top ten colleges by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. It is well worth looking into if you are considering a good college for you or your child.