Harambee 2023

On March 3, the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program held its annual Harambee! celebration. In the spirit of umoja, the Swahili word for unity, guests honored the nine Black Catholic Chicago parishes that came together through the Renew My Church process as well as the integral staff who facilitated the incredible transformation, Mrs. Valerie Jennings and Deacon James Norman.

Perelmuter Conference & Spring Shapiro Lecture

On March 13 and 14, the Catholic-Jewish Program held its annual Perelmuter Conference, bringing together a dozen scholars for conversation on this year’s topic of “Change, Practice, and the Ethics of Technology.” That Monday, Dr. Sam Lebens gave the keynote lecture of the conference, the Spring Shapiro lecture. Dr. Lebens spoke on the meaning of a community persisting in the face of substantial change, and what it means for two ancient religions, meeting in the context of interfaith dialogue, to carry the history of their traditions with them into that encounter.

Francesco e Francisco

On March 22, the Duns Scotus Chair of Franciscan Spirituality, Gilberto Cavazos-Gonzalez, OFM hosted Friar Michael Perry, OFM, and Sister Dawn M. Nothwehr, OSF,  as they reflected on San Francesco’s influence of Pope Francisco and the pope’s influence on the Franciscan family. At the event, we were also pleased to celebrate Gil Ostdiek, OFM’s 90th birthday.

Catholic Common Ground Initiative

From April 14-16, CTU’s Bernardin Center hosted a conference with the Catholic Common Ground Initiative that brought together 38 people from various backgrounds to discuss the needs of young people in the future of the Church. The public keynote was given by Ellen Koneck, Executive Director at Commonweal magazine. Titled “Seeking Common Ground Across Generations: The Context and the Concerns of Young Catholics,” Koneck’s talk can view the recording on CTU’s YouTube channel.

Discerning Deacons

On April 19, CTU hosted the organization Discerning Deacons for a “prayerful pep rally” specifically designed to engage young people in conversation about women and the diaconate. Over 140 people crowded into room 210 on CTU’s campus, including representatives from 11 high schools and 9 parishes in the Chicagoland area. Sr. Barbara Reid offered an invocation, Pathways@CTU Director Karen Ross preached, Sr. Mumbi Kigutha, CPPS offered a reflection on women’s ordination, and Co-Director of Discerning Deacons Casey Stinton offered a glimpse into where the conversation stands now in the Church around the world. You can view the recording of the event on our YouTube channel.

Schreiter Symposium on Trauma, Culture, and Spirituality

From May 12-13, the Robert J. Schreiter, CPPS Institute for Precious Blood Spirituality held its first annual Spring Symposium “A Praxis of Reconciliation: Trauma, Culture, and Spirituality.” Over 100 participants came to CTU or tuned in online to engage with a series of panels each composed of one established scholar, one artist or practitioner, and one graduate student or young scholar, who each then spoke on their understanding of their session’s topic through the lens of their work. All together, 15 diverse thought leaders, artists, ministers, and other professionals whose work interfaces with the spiritual facets of health and well-being facilitated conversations on trauma-informed approaches to reconciliation and restorative justice. The keynote from Dr. Susan Abraham can be viewed on our YouTube channel.


Holocaust Remembrance Series
This May, the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program was excited to invite a new series of speakers to present the annual Holocaust Remembrance Series, in addition to our yearly visit to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Kimberly Jones, a high school English teacher and co-leader of the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) Regional Seminar in North Carolina, delivered a talk on May 3 titled “‘But What Does This All Mean For Me?’: One Teacher’s Journey to Culturally Relevant Holocaust Education in the 21st Century” on the importance of Holocaust education for all people, regardless of background.

Later that week, Rosalie Levinson, Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Professor of Law and a Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso Law School, spoke on her experience as the child of Holocaust survivors and the impacts of that trauma in a talk titled, “My Parents Never Spoke of It.”