Catholic College Graduate Guides Pilgrims Deeper in Faith Through ‘Eternal City’

Joseph Long

While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, with a faithful Catholic college, the Catholic faith became “more alive” for Joseph Long. Now Long helps others experience the beauty of the Catholic faith through ProRome Tours, a company he founded that leads faith-filled tours and pilgrimages around the world.

Long chose to attend Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., which is recognized in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic education, because he wanted to attend a college where he could practice his faith, surrounded by others who were also striving to do so. Christendom College’s Rome program was also very attractive to him.

During their junior year, many Christendom students spend their semester studying in Rome and living just 30 minutes from St. Peter’s Basilica. The experience impacted Long, especially seeing the succession of popes since St. Peter, and made him eager to “to share [his] love for the faith through experiences of Rome and throughout Italy.”

“Being in Rome, the faith just becomes something real to you,” explained Long. “You can put the pieces of the puzzle together in a textbook back home, but when you go and actually see it, it becomes part of your fiber. And once you see it, you can’t forget it. It helps you evangelize, and it helps you understand your own faith.”

Christendom College offered Long a whole Catholic outlook for his life—and his work.

“At Christendom, [we were taught] the notion that the center and the most important part of human history is Jesus Christ coming into this world. When Christ came, died, and rose again, that was the absolute apex of human history. All of history at Christendom was taught in this light,” Long explained.

“It is the worldview that a Catholic must have in order to understand everything properly,” Long continued.

After graduating from college, Long became an Italian citizen, worked on his Italian language in Rome, and earned his master’s degree in Church history from the Pontifical University of Santa Croce. In 2014, with a $10,000 loan and “a lot of energy,” he founded ProRome Tours, a faith-based travel business.

By 2019, ProRome Tours was garnering $1.5 million in sales and growing. Then, the pandemic of 2020 hit, pausing international trips, and Long had to switch gears to teaching Italian online. Amazingly, he was able keep ProRome alive and is back to serving more than 1,000 clients annually.

Long’s travel company focuses on providing meaningful trips. In a description of a summer program for high school students, ProRome advertises that the trip will help propel students “in the right direction, increase their confidence in the Catholic faith, and introduce them to good ideas and great friends.”

For those who are considering where to attend college, Long encourages students to “go somewhere that is Catholic, that is very Catholic and is proud of its Catholicism. Go somewhere that you’ll be able to nurture that Catholicism and be able to explore things that interest you.”

Long credits his faithful Catholic education with giving him the tools he needed to start his own business—a business that is a blessing for him and those he serves. “Going to Christendom not only gave me incredible friends and reinforced my faith, but it also gave me incredible education that allowed me to think freely think for myself and challenge the status quo.”

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