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November 2012

Nov 16, 2012

Hmmm….my week to write the blog. Thanksgiving approaches. I know – I’ll write about gratitude!

An obvious choice, a worthy topic. But as I think about all that I’m grateful for in life, which includes my life at CTU, my thanks cannot be spoken in a breezy, “ain’t life perfect” kind of way. It’s more complex than that. Can you relate?

My gratitude, for example, ranges from simple appreciation for such things as reasonable traffic on Lake Shore Drive to a deeper and more seasoned thanks for the health and well-being of my loved ones, for adversity weathered, for the giving and receiving of love.  That gratitude comes with a capital “G.”

Shortly after I started my new job at CTU seven months ago, two valued employees in Marketing and Communications needed to pursue new callings. Talk about a learning curve that I didn’t expect!  I was overwhelmed and a little scared, but thank God, I received such care and understanding from the CTU community and my colleagues in Enrollment Management. Today, I have the good fortune to have two new colleagues, Karla Meier and Ronit Bezalel, who are enormously creative and talented. I am so grateful and excited about what we’ll accomplish together.

Learning that President Donald Senior would be retiring in June set me thinking again about the nature of gratitude.  One of the reasons that I came to CTU was because of my great admiration for Fr. Senior.  Soon, Fr. Don won’t inhabit the office down the hall, or walk by each morning with a warm “Hi Nancy!” on his way to responsibilities more numerous than I can imagine.

And yet, what I have learned from him by example is that to face new challenges is to embrace new life, new excitement, and the possibility of new gratitude born of victories and, yes, even losses, great and small. To feel gratitude is to engage life in all its phases.  We at CTU have so much to be grateful for, so much to give, and so much to look forward to as the future unfolds.

I think Fr. Don will forgive me if I “lift” the ending of his recent Scripture reflection: “Some well-intentioned Christians spend time trying to calculate the end of the world; others think it is best to ignore a world that is doomed for destruction and prefer to live in anxiety and fear of the doom to come... Instead, we should continue to be fully alive and alert, ready for the moments of grace that may come our way unexpectedly. “

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. May you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving, too, filled with life and cherished moments of grace!

Nancy Nickel, Director of Marketing and Communications, nnickel@ctu.edu

Nov 13, 2012

This weekend, I had the privilege to represent CTU at the National Call to Action Conference in Louisville, KY.  Each year, this conference gathers some 1500 participants from across the country committed to promoting justice in the church and beyond.  In many ways, the demographic of conference attendees resembles that of CTU with its mix of multi-generations, religious and lay persons, professional ministers, volunteers, and seekers.  I thought, What an ideal place to “spread the word” about CTU!

After a short time on the exhibit floor, I soon learned that CTU was already at work among many of the conference attendees—and for them, needed no introduction.  Countless times, I was greeted like an old friend by alumni I had never met.  I had to begin to use my notebook to record the messages I promised to deliver from old friends to members of the CTU community.  Harrietta Halloway, our receptionist (and listening ear), was mentioned with reverence on more than one occasion.  There were also students who studied elsewhere but had been inspired by visiting faculty, such as Fr. Don Senior.   One gentleman had returned from our Holy Land trip last month and was still glowing.   Several expressed gratitude for the ministry CTU members perform in their “free time,” such as Mark Schramm and Steve Bevans, who preside at the St. Giles Family Mass.    An author in the booth across from me spoke admirably about his long time written correspondence with the late Barbara Bowe, treasured to this day. 

I entered into the weekend prepared to do outreach and educate others on the opportunities of a CTU education. I was humbled each time someone approached me and gave witness to the impact of CTU on his or her life and ministry because I was not prepared to likewise receive.  “Thank you for being here,” people said to me, again and again.  My “No, thank you,” felt insignificant in return.

But I say it again.

Thank you.  Thank you for enriching CTU by your presence.  And thank you for carrying CTU with you as you enrich our church—and the world.

Angela Paviglianiti, Director of Admissions | angelap@ctu.edu | 773.371.5445