After last year’s online event, CTU was excited to return for a hybrid 2022 Blessed Are the Peacemakers event this past April. On Thursday the 27, 300 guests gathered in-person at the beautiful University Club in the heart of downtown Chicago, while 80 supporters from far and wide joined us online.

This year, CTU recognized the members of the Simon family, longtime supporters of CTU and each an incredible advocate for social change in their own right, through careers in medicine, advocacy, law, and more. The Simon Family received the Diakonia Award, bestowed on those whose lives are testaments of exemplary public service. Raymond Simon, whose children and grandchildren were in attendance, gave a brief comment via video. He said,

Matthew Simon

We have great affection for CTU, and the affection goes back many years… In addition to all the philosophical reasoning for which we have supported CTU, there are personal reasons as well. Mary and I developed a strong connection with CTU. We had the wonderful opportunity to travel with Fr. Don Senior to Greece and Turkey, and Rome in the footsteps of St. Paul, and more recently to the Holy Land. As you know, Fr. Don is a highly regarded biblical scholar, but he is also down to Earth. Those travels made Jesus and St. Paul more human for us and deepened our faith, and Don’s friendship has enriched our lives.

Raymond’s son, Matthew Simon, accepted the award on behalf of his family. “This event not only has given our family a wonderful opportunity, and a welcome one, to reminisce… but it has also provided us with an opportunity to look forward,” he said. “Tonight, we celebrate the accomplishments and the future of CTU. We wish you the very best, we appreciate very much being the recipients of this award, and we thank you.”

CTU was also pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions made by CTU’s numerous alumni to the crucial work of peace, mercy, and justice by naming CTU’s young alumni the joint recipients of the Blessed Are the Peacemakers Award. Student representative, Johnathan Turba, OPraem, spoke of the depth of diversity and breadth of experiences had by CTU students during his speech accepting the award on behalf of the community of alumni. “I have always been struck by the beautifully international and multicultural nature of our community at CTU,” he said, “We are truly a picture of the worldwide Church, learning from one another as we learn together… as Pope Francis has continually reminded us, the Church is alive and the future of the Church is now.” 

By the end of our night together, we were pleased to have exceeded our fundraising goal by 25%. We look forward to gathering once again for our 2023 Blessed Are the Peacemakers event on April 26, 2023. You can view the recording of this year’s event at Learn@CTU, and browse the gallery of pictures here.