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Easter 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 Easter Appeal below:

Dear Friends,

By all accounts, Pope Francis’ recent trip to the Philippines was an extraordinary success. He travelled to the stricken town of Tacloban that was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan to comfort and support the residents. He celebrated several Masses that drew record-breaking crowds. He met with government and Church leaders and spoke against corruption. He gathered with Christians of other traditions and Muslims to promote ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.  

For me, however, the most poignant moment in this eventful visit was when he met with Filipino youth in Manila. A 12-year-old girl, Glyzelle Palomar, was one of three children chosen to address the Holy Father. Only a few years before, she had no home and had been living on the streets. She burst into tears when she told the Pope of abuse and living off what she could find in the garbage. She asked the Pope, “Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only a few people helping us?”

The Pope, visibly moved by her question, said, “Glyzelle is the only one who has put a question to which there is no answer — and she wasn’t able to express it in words, only in tears.” He then spoke of the way that Jesus ministered. Rather than only handing out money or material things, Jesus took time to listen and to sympathize with people. He also cried, said the Pope. “He cried for his dead friend, he cried in his heart for the family that had lost its child, he cried when he saw the poor widow burying her son, he was moved to tears, to compassion, when he saw the crowd without a shepherd. It is only when we learn to cry with those who are suffering that we begin to understand them and to love them.”

At Catholic Theological Union, we are accustomed to dealing with the kind of questions that Glyzelle posed to Pope Francis. Many of our faculty and students have shared their life and ministry with people who are desperately suffering, both in the United States and internationally. I think of faculty member Claude Marie Barbour, for example, who served as a missionary for many years among Black South Africans during the Apartheid regime. Or current student Sr. Sarah, who worked with inner-city youth facing poverty, hunger, and gang violence in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood before coming to CTU.

Their perspectives, and the perspectives of many others in the CTU community, never let classroom discussions take refuge in trite, superficial answers to the mystery of human suffering. We know that we cannot take the easy way out by trying to give an answer to the question of suffering — for there is no answer. Instead, like the Pope, here at CTU we try to offer an authentic response of Christian faith: to reach out in love and compassion to individuals like Glyzelle in the name of Christ.

Through our academic classes and formation programs, we prepare our students to accompany and suffer with those who suffer, as Christ did. They are equipped with the skills and knowledge to offer compassionate care to those in hospitals and hospices, prisons and gang intervention programs, homeless shelters and food pantries, parishes and schools throughout the world.

As we celebrate Holy Week, I ask for your continued support of CTU as we prepare our students to emulate Christ’s ministry. Won’t you help us in our mission to form sensitive and informed ministers for the Church and the world? Your contribution, of any amount, makes you our partner in reaching out to those in need with love and compassion through our students and graduates, who serve in more than 60 countries around the world.

This Holy Week, we contemplate the paradox of the cross: an instrument of suffering and death that has been transformed by Christ into a sign of love and salvation. May the new and abundant life we experience from Christ’s resurrection be present to you and yours this Easter Season, and may children like Glyzelle be comforted by the care and concern — and the tears — of Christians who reach out to them in love.  

In Christ the resurrection and the life,

Rev. 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, CP, 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 more than 3,500 alumni representing sixty-five countries and ministering on six continents, sharing the Good News through their witness.

$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 in the amount of $54.01, the address of our initial home at 5401 S. Cornell in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.