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Back to School Appeal

All gifts to the CTU annual fund are important and have a tremendous impact on the academic and spiritual life of the school, regardless of their size. If you would like to make a gift, please access our secure on-line giving form or mail a donation to Catholic Theological Union at 5401 South Cornell, Chicago, IL  60615. Questions can be directed to Anne Marie Tirpak, Director of Development, at or 773.371.5417.

Please find Fr. Mark R. Francis's Back to School Appeal below:

Dear Friends,

As I write this letter, many places in our world are suffering and in disarray: the seemingly intractable conflict in the Holy Land, the ongoing problems in Ukraine, the unspeakable horror of violence and forced conversion in Syria and Iraq, the growing Ebola epidemic taking more and more lives in West Africa, the rising racial tension in Missouri, and the 50,000 unaccompanied children seeking refuge at our southern border.

At Catholic Theological Union, our students provide hope in this world of turmoil. We are aware of these needs in the world, and it is this context that helps inform not only what we do at CTU — but also how and why we do it. The “what” is straightforward: we prepare men and women for service in the Church and the world — as priests, teachers, prison and hospital chaplains, campus ministers, non-profit leaders, and a variety of other ministries, both here in the United States and internationally.

But the “how” of what we do is rather unique. CTU is the only Catholic theological school in the country supported by a union of 24 religious communities. The gifts, or charisms, that each community brings to CTU contribute to the exchange of ideas and approaches to ministry that are mutually enriching. For example, the simplicity and care for creation of the Franciscans, the missionary zeal of the Society of the Divine Word, and the recognition of the presence of God in human suffering of the Passionists all add to the facets of the faith that are explored every day in the classroom. In much the same way, the many women religious and the lay men and women who study and teach at CTU bring their own distinctive charisms and life experiences to CTU’s academic and student life. We are also fortunate that, in addition to Protestant perspectives, CTU is enriched by faith-filled Jewish and Muslim teachers and students who share their insights and wisdom, adding to our knowledge and appreciation of their religious experience.

This union of gifts gives CTU students an education that is rooted in both human experience and the needs of the Church and the world. In many ways, through the diversity of our faculty and student body, CTU is a microcosm of the global society and Church for which our graduates are being prepared; one that is made up of men and women, religious and lay, ordained and non-ordained, international and native born, striving to answer God’s call in a world that is so in need of justice and peace.

Indeed, in the face of such violence and suffering in the world, graduates of CTU are making a difference. I think of Sr. Anne, who works among impoverished and victimized teenage girls in the slums surrounding Nairobi. I think of Renate, who manages an NGO in Haiti that builds housing, promotes mental health care and provides education as the country rebuilds from its devastating earthquakes. I think of Brendan, who after leading programming in inter-religious dialogue for an international foundation is now teaching religion on the secondary school level. I think of Fr. Bill, who brings together English-, Spanish- and Polish-speaking Catholics in a community that is united in love for God and for one another.

Through their CTU education, these graduates, and thousands of others like them, have been trained to be agents of reconciliation, able to apply the best of the Catholic tradition to their work in situations of conflict and adversity that exist in so many places in the United States and around the globe. Through the diversity of gifts and human experiences that they encounter at CTU, they recognize the needs of the world and are equipped to meet them.

As we begin this new school year, your help is crucial to enable us to continue this important work. Most of our students would not be able to study at CTU without financial support. These scholarships allow our graduates to serve as effective leaders in the Church and in the world.

It is in light of this need I ask for your support and your partnership with the CTU faculty and staff to continue its mission of providing quality education to students who will make a difference in this troubled world of ours. Your gift will bear fruit in wonderful ways and will help make our city, nation, and world a better place.

Sincerely yours,

Fr. Mark R. Francis, CSV

Give now through CTU’s online giving form.


Leadership Giving Circles

$5,000 Bechtold Circle
This Circle is named in memory of Rev. Paul Bechtold, C.P., CTU’s first president.

$1,968 Founders’ Circle
This Circle recognizes donors who make an unrestricted annual fund donation in the amount of CTU’s founding year, 1968.

$1,000 President’s Circle
This Circle was established in 1999 to recognize friends of CTU who have made a contribution of $1,000 or more.

$500 Jerusalem Circle
Named in honor of the Jerusalem Cross, symbolic of spreading the Gospel to all four corners of the world, this cross and circle are representative of the nearly five hundred students and 3,500 alumnae/i representing sixty-five countries and ministering on six continents, sharing the Good News through their witness. Similarly, for more than thirty years, CTU faculty and staff have been leading students and benefactors on trips to the Holy Land to experience their faith in more profound ways.

$250 Phoebe’s Circle
Phoebe was a deaconess of Cenchreae and a leader of the early Church praised by Paul the Apostle (Romans 16:1). As a deaconess and Church leader, she opened her home and shared her resources with the community.

$100 Fr. Ezekiel Ramin Circle
Fr. Ezekiel Ramin was the first CTU graduate to die for the sake of the Gospel. An Italian by birth and a brilliant medical student, Lele, as he was known, joined the Comboni Missionaries and obtained his Master of Divinity degree from CTU in 1979. He was assigned as a missionary to Brazil where he was revered by the poor he served. Lele was shot to death while attempting to mediate a land dispute between landlords and local farmers.

$54.01 - 5401 Club
This giving club recognizes gifts made by current CTU students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i in the amount of $54.01, the address of our initial home at 5401 S. Cornell in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. All 5401 Club members are recognized in the Annual Report for their unrestricted support of Catholic Theological Union.