AT THE MARCH CEREMONY officially installing me in the office of President of Catholic Theological Union, I reflected on a text from the Gospel of John, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit” (12:24). I likened the grain of wheat to the seeds of Vatican II that gave birth to the bold experiment that is CTU, casting forward to the extraordinary times we find ourselves living in 2022.
In the words of a mentor of mine, the late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, MI,
This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
President Sr. Barbara Reid, O.P.
For me and for all of us in the CTU community, this is a time of gratitude, trust, wonder, and eager anticipation of what will be the fruit borne by CTU in the next 54 years. One of the distinguishing marks of CTU is that it believes that the church of the future must be a church where men and women, religious and lay, people of all races and cultures, must work in harmony and with mutual respect to build a world of peace and justice, witnessing to the reality of the church as the people of God. In the pages of this publication, you will read about a number of initiatives underway at CTU and efforts led by CTU staff and faculty to bring about a more just and equitable world.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, and the financial and educational strains it has put on all institutions of higher learning, we at CTU have been extraordinarily blessed. Having completed an intensive strategic planning process for 2021-2024, we are committed to these three major goals: Accelerating outreach and increasing enrollment; Co-creating the Church of tomorrow through offering outstanding theological, ministerial and formational education; and strengthening institutional vitality, including a comprehensive upgrade to our technological capacity.
A significant step toward accomplishing these goals has been our fully successful 50th anniversary capital campaign, Forward in Faith. I am very happy to announce that this Spring we successfully completed the campaign, exceeding our goal of 16 million dollars! Funds from this initiative will be used to maintain the quality of our faculty, to enhance our educational technology and our outreach, and, above all, to increase scholarship support for the exceptional students who come to us to prepare for a life of service. Utilizing the funds from the Forward in Faith campaign, we now have considerable scholarship support to make CTU degrees and certificates accessible to a growing population of students.
Another sign of CTU’s vitality is the strong endorsement we have recently received from several major foundations who have expressed their confidence in CTU by providing vital financial support for our work. This past year, for example, we were awarded a million-dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment to intensify our recruitment of outstanding students, especially younger adults from underrepresented communities from across the country.
Additionally, we have received a grant of $825,000 from the Hilton Foundation to extend CTU’s efforts in forming women and men religious to become an even more powerful force for peacebuilding and creating racial harmony. Also, the men’s and women’s religious communities of the Precious Blood have endowed a new institute at CTU named after our beloved faculty colleague and a member of the Precious Blood community, Robert Schreiter of blessed memory. The programs of this new institute will be dedicated to the work of reconciliation and peacebuilding.
These are only a few of the many affirmations of the work that CTU is doing, as we continue to thrive in challenging times. We look to the future with great hope. We have thousands of alumni already at work in our country and in scores of countries around the globe, serving the church and God’s people. We are truly grateful for the young women and men who continue to come to CTU preparing themselves for a life of service in the spirit of the Gospel.
Just as a seed has to leave aside its protective husk to allow the life within to be changed to produce more life, so too has CTU continued to change and grow over our 54 years. The new life is in full flower!
Sr. Barbara Reid, OP