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CTU Alum Stories

 
"I am honored to have been asked to share the story of Arm In Arm In Africa and how my life's journey connects to the time in which I was a student at CTU.  In the thirty-eight years since ordination, the majority of my time and effort has been spent in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota.  A little over a year ago, I completed thirty-five years of being involved in providing hospice care throughout the Twin Cities, with an average daily census of over 600 hundred individuals and their families experiencing end of life care.  I have also been priviledged to be a part of the pastoral staff at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, located in Minneapolis, a progressive, welcoming, and inclusive community that has a clear mission for social justice.  It has been through the combined experiences of hospice care and the community of St. Joan of Arc that Arm In Arm In Africa came to life.  I had participated by riding a bike numerous times from Minneapolis to Chicago in order to raise support and public awareness around HIV/AIDS.  In all honesty, I may have been looking for another way to be involved in the the AIDS crisis other than riding a bike for over five hundred miles to The Windy City every year!
 
In 2000, I had my first experience of going to Guguletu, a township near Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Malungeni, a village located in the Eastern Cape.   My original intention remained focused around HIV/AIDS.  The community of South Africa had experienced the highest rate of transmission of the HIV virus in the world community.  It became very clear, very soon that there were many layers of concern, including all areas of health care, lack of educational opportunities, and having access to basic necessities, such as food.  Within a short amount of time, Arm In Arm In Africa was formed as a Non-Profit 501(C)3 and over two hundred Minnesotans have participated in the yearly journey to be with our family in South Africa over the past sixteen years.  Our mission is simply that  "we come as a family to make a connection, person to person, arm in arm, and along the way to share our lives. It is our honor to assist in improving conditions and to create opportunities for changing the cycle of poverty and disease in South Africa."  AIAIA has remained focused in partnering with with numerous communities throughout South Africa and making a commitment to community organizing.  We continue to focus on the needs around improving educational opportunities, emergency food distributions, as well as partnering with local clinics and providing desperately needed medical supplies.  AIAIA was instrumental in bringing hospice services to the townships for the first time.  As a result of our shared commitment to community organizing, the Arm In Arm In Africa Board has unanimously agreed to open a residential hospice in Minneapolis.  A portion of the revenue would also assist with the ongoing needs in South Africa.  I see our decision to create a hospice residence in the Twin Cities  as a natural result of the shared community organizing that AIAIA and numerous communities in South Africa have been able to  achieve over the years.  We have come full circle in the last sixteen years and clearly share a desire to mutually improve our shared communities, and to see ourselves as one community working together. 
 
I am sharing this story in a "post-Orlando world" in which we struggle to understand the senseless and tragic loss of life.  One of the many gifts that I feel I have personally received in my African experiences is a clearer understanding of "Ubuntu," which roughly translates to human kindness.  It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness", and is often translated as "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal  bond of sharing that connects all humanity".  This belief in a universal bond that connects all of us in the  world community is sorely missing in our current political landscape in the US.  As I look back over  thirty-eight years of public ministry, I am also painfully aware of how that same message of valuing our shared humanity has been sorely missed by much of the church leadership.  As we remember and grieve the loss of our forty-nine brothers and sisters in Orlando, it is a time to remember the importance of human kindness and our commitment to love unconditionally.  I want to close with a word of gratitude for my memories of having been a student at CTU.  Your mission has always been to educate women and men for leadership within the church community that reflects a clear understanding  and commitment to human kindness, and that we can only be human together.  You have been, and you remain a beacon of hope in the church.
 

 

The journey continues..."
Fr. James Cassidy, MDiv, 1979
 
"I am honored to have been asked to share the story of Arm In Arm In Africa and how my life's journey connects to the time in which I was a student at CTU.  In the thirty-eight years since ordination, the majority of my time and effort has been spent in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota.  A little over a year ago, I completed thirty-five years of being involved in providing hospice care throughout the Twin Cities, with an average daily census of over 600 hundred individuals and their families experiencing end of life care.  I have also been priviledged to be a part of the pastoral staff at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, located in Minneapolis, a progressive, welcoming, and inclusive community that has a clear mission for social justice.  It has been through the combined experiences of hospice care and the community of St. Joan of Arc that Arm In Arm In Africa came to life.  I had participated by riding a bike numerous times from Minneapolis to Chicago in order to raise support and public awareness around HIV/AIDS.  In all honesty, I may have been looking for another way to be involved in the the AIDS crisis other than riding a bike for over five hundred miles to The Windy City every year!
 
In 2000, I had my first experience of going to Guguletu, a township near Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Malungeni, a village located in the Eastern Cape.   My original intention remained focused around HIV/AIDS.  The community of South Africa had experienced the highest rate of transmission of the HIV virus in the world community.  It became very clear, very soon that there were many layers of concern, including all areas of health care, lack of educational opportunities, and having access to basic necessities, such as food.  Within a short amount of time, Arm In Arm In Africa was formed as a Non-Profit 501(C)3 and over two hundred Minnesotans have participated in the yearly journey to be with our family in South Africa over the past sixteen years.  Our mission is simply that  "we come as a family to make a connection, person to person, arm in arm, and along the way to share our lives. It is our honor to assist in improving conditions and to create opportunities for changing the cycle of poverty and disease in South Africa."  AIAIA has remained focused in partnering with with numerous communities throughout South Africa and making a commitment to community organizing.  We continue to focus on the needs around improving educational opportunities, emergency food distributions, as well as partnering with local clinics and providing desperately needed medical supplies.  AIAIA was instrumental in bringing hospice services to the townships for the first time.  As a result of our shared commitment to community organizing, the Arm In Arm In Africa Board has unanimously agreed to open a residential hospice in Minneapolis.  A portion of the revenue would also assist with the ongoing needs in South Africa.  I see our decision to create a hospice residence in the Twin Cities  as a natural result of the shared community organizing that AIAIA and numerous communities in South Africa have been able to  achieve over the years.  We have come full circle in the last sixteen years and clearly share a desire to mutually improve our shared communities, and to see ourselves as one community working together. 
 
I am sharing this story in a "post-Orlando world" in which we struggle to understand the senseless and tragic loss of life.  One of the many gifts that I feel I have personally received in my African experiences is a clearer understanding of "Ubuntu," which roughly translates to human kindness.  It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness", and is often translated as "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal  bond of sharing that connects all humanity".  This belief in a universal bond that connects all of us in the  world community is sorely missing in our current political landscape in the US.  As I look back over  thirty-eight years of public ministry, I am also painfully aware of how that same message of valuing our shared humanity has been sorely missed by much of the church leadership.  As we remember and grieve the loss of our forty-nine brothers and sisters in Orlando, it is a time to remember the importance of human kindness and our commitment to love unconditionally.  I want to close with a word of gratitude for my memories of having been a student at CTU.  Your mission has always been to educate women and men for leadership within the church community that reflects a clear understanding  and commitment to human kindness, and that we can only be human together.  You have been, and you remain a beacon of hope in the church.
 

 

The journey continues..."
 

Kevin P. Considine, MA Theology

Congratulations to alum Kevin Considine who was appointed to the faculty at Calumet College of St. Joseph where he is Visiting Professor of Religious Studies. He is currently teaching Social Justice, Introduction to Religious Studies, Asian Philosophies, and Religions in Dialogue at the college.  

Kevin has been busy since he walked the halls of CTU where he received an MA in Theology in 2008. Having done his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University, receiving a bachelor's degree in English, he has since completed his PhD in Theology from Loyola University-Chicago in May 2013.  

Prior to his new appointment at Calumet College of St. Joseph, Kevin previously worked at Loyola University-Chicago, the Northwestern University's Civic Education Project, the Center for Study of Religious Life, The Atlantic Street Center and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Mary Amore, MAPS and DMin

"Up until 20 years ago, I was a stay at home mom raising my two young children when God decided to call me out of the kitchen and into ministry, and I began the ride of my life! Over the course of the next 10 years, while juggling home and family commitments, I earned two graduate degrees from Catholic Theological Union: A Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies in 1999, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 2004. I am also honored to be a Cardinal Bernardin Scholar. My years at CTU transformed and formed me into the person I am today, and I could not be more blessed.

"My academic experiences at CTU were incredibly rich for I studied under the finest of professors; each one of them noted authors and experts in their particular fields of study. As a Chicagoan, I also gleaned incredible wisdom and insights from my fellow students, women and men, lay and ordained, who hailed from every corner of the globe. Where can one find an experience like this? My degrees from Catholic Theological Union have opened many doors, shattered several glass ceilings, and have offered me wonderful ministerial opportunities that I would never have experienced on my own as a woman working in ministry. I am now blessed to be the Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries in Downers Grove, Ill. We are a nonprofit lay-led Catholic/Christian ministry where ordinary gifted people do the extraordinary work of God. None of this would have been possible without my academic degrees from CTU. Catholic Theological Union is a gift to the world, and to everyone who walks through their doors."

Dimitri Sala, OFM

Dimitri Sala, OFM, MDiv, 1984, is a priest involved full-time in evangelical preaching and apostolic ministry, combined with a life of prayer.  Presently based in Chicago, he ministers with a team of laity to many ethnic groups, ages, and denominations, and makes appearances on Christian television and radio.  He is  involved in international efforts of reconciliation between Evangelical Protestants and Catholics, and as such, is part of the ecumenical ministry of Harvest Evangelism, serving there also a faculty member for the Transform Our World Global Conferences, and is an associate to the Paradosis Center for Theology and Scripture.   

He is glad to announce that his book, The Stained Glass Curtain, is now published in Spanish (La Cortina de Vitrales).  The work explores the foundation for relationship between Catholics and Evangelicals. It is available from Creation House (or Casa Creación) Publishers.  For more information, visit http://www.thestainedglasscurtain.com/

Corinne Agren-Barnes

Originally from Maine, Corinne Agren-Barnes comes to CTU via Boston, where she was working for the last two years at Rosie’s Place, a non-profit that serves women experiencing homelessness. She graduated from Loyola University Maryland in May 2011 with a Master of Arts in Global Studies and minors in Spanish and Gender Studies.

Corinne first heard the call to ministry while studying abroad during her junior year at Loyola. While abroad she participated in two service-based exchange programs, one in El Salvador and one in Chile, as well as spending two months doing service at a domestic violence shelter in Guatemala. After a year of ministering to those on the margins, Corinne worked for the Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ) during her senior year at Loyola. At CCSJ she facilitated service experiences between student volunteers and three social service agencies in the Baltimore area. After graduating, Corinne sought to work at a non-profit organization to help her discern what she should pursue for her graduate studies. This experience led her to apply and accept admission to CTU and the University of Chicago’s dual Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work program.

In addition to her passion for social justice, Corinne enjoys traveling, being outdoors, spending time with her friends and family, swimming, reading dystopian novels, and playing cards.

Valerie D'Souza, MAPS, DMin

During a recent visit in India, CTU faculty member Roger Schroeder had the wonderful opportunity to reunite with CTU graduate, Valerie D'Souza. Valerie graduated from CTU with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies in 2000 and a DMin in Liturgy in 2005. She is now Director of the Liturgy Office for the Archdiocese of Mumbai (Bombay).  Valerie is doing very well attending to the many facets of her job, including organizing interreligious prayer services, in one of the largest cities of the world.  She organized a morning tea for Roger with a number of her collaborators and she gifted him with a shawl, a cultural sign of Indian welcome.  However, rather than the regular practice of purchasing one, she wove a beautiful white shawl with her own hands. Valerie couldn't stop talking about how much she had been blessed by her studies at Catholic Theological Union.


Beth Knobbe, MDiv

The questions were simple yet profound: “Who am I at my core? Where can I best serve?” At 29, Beth Knobbe was beginning to have an identity crisis. She had a satisfying, growing career in a global pension benefits firm. Rooted in the Catholic tradition of service, she volunteered as an after-school tutor for disadvantaged children, assisted with RCIA at Old St. Pat’s in Chicago, and was engaged in young adult ministry. A healthy balance, however, was elusive, and her purpose in life felt unclear.  Read more.


Rev. Eddie DeLeón, CMF

For CTU alumnus Rev. Eddie DeLeón, C.M.F., preparing for Sunday Mass recently became a more daunting, but rewarding experience. “When I preach at Mass, there are world-renowned Scripture scholars in the audience, as well as the dean of the Yale Divinity School,” Fr. DeLeón said, smiling. “Not to mention, students may fact-check my homily!” In August 2011, Fr. DeLeón became the first Latino priest to serve as Assistant Chaplain at Yale University’s Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel. There, he supports all 5,600 graduate students with Catholic intellectual life, spiritual direction, marriage counseling, and other faith services, as well as plans and executes outreach for Yale’s Latino student population. Read more.

For additional stories about CTU students and alums, visit PORTRAITS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I am honored to have been asked to share the story of Arm In Arm In Africa and how my life's journey connects to the time in which I was a student at CTU.  In the thirty-eight years since ordination, the majority of my time and effort has been spent in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota.  A little over a year ago, I completed thirty-five years of being involved in providing hospice care throughout the Twin Cities, with an average daily census of over 600 hundred individuals and their families experiencing end of life care.  I have also been priviledged to be a part of the pastoral staff at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, located in Minneapolis, a progressive, welcoming, and inclusive community that has a clear mission for social justice.  It has been through the combined experiences of hospice care and the community of St. Joan of Arc that Arm In Arm In Africa came to life.  I had participated by riding a bike numerous times from Minneapolis to Chicago in order to raise support and public awareness around HIV/AIDS.  In all honesty, I may have been looking for another way to be involved in the the AIDS crisis other than riding a bike for over five hundred miles to The Windy City every year!
 
In 2000, I had my first experience of going to Guguletu, a township near Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Malungeni, a village located in the Eastern Cape.   My original intention remained focused around HIV/AIDS.  The community of South Africa had experienced the highest rate of transmission of the HIV virus in the world community.  It became very clear, very soon that there were many layers of concern, including all areas of health care, lack of educational opportunities, and having access to basic necessities, such as food.  Within a short amount of time, Arm In Arm In Africa was formed as a Non-Profit 501(C)3 and over two hundred Minnesotans have participated in the yearly journey to be with our family in South Africa over the past sixteen years.  Our mission is simply that  "we come as a family to make a connection, person to person, arm in arm, and along the way to share our lives. It is our honor to assist in improving conditions and to create opportunities for changing the cycle of poverty and disease in South Africa."  AIAIA has remained focused in partnering with with numerous communities throughout South Africa and making a commitment to community organizing.  We continue to focus on the needs around improving educational opportunities, emergency food distributions, as well as partnering with local clinics and providing desperately needed medical supplies.  AIAIA was instrumental in bringing hospice services to the townships for the first time.  As a result of our shared commitment to community organizing, the Arm In Arm In Africa Board has unanimously agreed to open a residential hospice in Minneapolis.  A portion of the revenue would also assist with the ongoing needs in South Africa.  I see our decision to create a hospice residence in the Twin Cities  as a natural result of the shared community organizing that AIAIA and numerous communities in South Africa have been able to  achieve over the years.  We have come full circle in the last sixteen years and clearly share a desire to mutually improve our shared communities, and to see ourselves as one community working together. 
 
I am sharing this story in a "post-Orlando world" in which we struggle to understand the senseless and tragic loss of life.  One of the many gifts that I feel I have personally received in my African experiences is a clearer understanding of "Ubuntu," which roughly translates to human kindness.  It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness", and is often translated as "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal  bond of sharing that connects all humanity".  This belief in a universal bond that connects all of us in the  world community is sorely missing in our current political landscape in the US.  As I look back over  thirty-eight years of public ministry, I am also painfully aware of how that same message of valuing our shared humanity has been sorely missed by much of the church leadership.  As we remember and grieve the loss of our forty-nine brothers and sisters in Orlando, it is a time to remember the importance of human kindness and our commitment to love unconditionally.  I want to close with a word of gratitude for my memories of having been a student at CTU.  Your mission has always been to educate women and men for leadership within the church community that reflects a clear understanding  and commitment to human kindness, and that we can only be human together.  You have been, and you remain a beacon of hope in the church.
 
The journey continues..."
"I am honored to have been asked to share the story of Arm In Arm In Africa and how my life's journey connects to the time in which I was a student at CTU.  In the thirty-eight years since ordination, the majority of my time and effort has been spent in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota.  A little over a year ago, I completed thirty-five years of being involved in providing hospice care throughout the Twin Cities, with an average daily census of over 600 hundred individuals and their families experiencing end of life care.  I have also been priviledged to be a part of the pastoral staff at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, located in Minneapolis, a progressive, welcoming, and inclusive community that has a clear mission for social justice.  It has been through the combined experiences of hospice care and the community of St. Joan of Arc that Arm In Arm In Africa came to life.  I had participated by riding a bike numerous times from Minneapolis to Chicago in order to raise support and public awareness around HIV/AIDS.  In all honesty, I may have been looking for another way to be involved in the the AIDS crisis other than riding a bike for over five hundred miles to The Windy City every year!
 
In 2000, I had my first experience of going to Guguletu, a township near Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Malungeni, a village located in the Eastern Cape.   My original intention remained focused around HIV/AIDS.  The community of South Africa had experienced the highest rate of transmission of the HIV virus in the world community.  It became very clear, very soon that there were many layers of concern, including all areas of health care, lack of educational opportunities, and having access to basic necessities, such as food.  Within a short amount of time, Arm In Arm In Africa was formed as a Non-Profit 501(C)3 and over two hundred Minnesotans have participated in the yearly journey to be with our family in South Africa over the past sixteen years.  Our mission is simply that  "we come as a family to make a connection, person to person, arm in arm, and along the way to share our lives. It is our honor to assist in improving conditions and to create opportunities for changing the cycle of poverty and disease in South Africa."  AIAIA has remained focused in partnering with with numerous communities throughout South Africa and making a commitment to community organizing.  We continue to focus on the needs around improving educational opportunities, emergency food distributions, as well as partnering with local clinics and providing desperately needed medical supplies.  AIAIA was instrumental in bringing hospice services to the townships for the first time.  As a result of our shared commitment to community organizing, the Arm In Arm In Africa Board has unanimously agreed to open a residential hospice in Minneapolis.  A portion of the revenue would also assist with the ongoing needs in South Africa.  I see our decision to create a hospice residence in the Twin Cities  as a natural result of the shared community organizing that AIAIA and numerous communities in South Africa have been able to  achieve over the years.  We have come full circle in the last sixteen years and clearly share a desire to mutually improve our shared communities, and to see ourselves as one community working together. 
 
I am sharing this story in a "post-Orlando world" in which we struggle to understand the senseless and tragic loss of life.  One of the many gifts that I feel I have personally received in my African experiences is a clearer understanding of "Ubuntu," which roughly translates to human kindness.  It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness", and is often translated as "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal  bond of sharing that connects all humanity".  This belief in a universal bond that connects all of us in the  world community is sorely missing in our current political landscape in the US.  As I look back over  thirty-eight years of public ministry, I am also painfully aware of how that same message of valuing our shared humanity has been sorely missed by much of the church leadership.  As we remember and grieve the loss of our forty-nine brothers and sisters in Orlando, it is a time to remember the importance of human kindness and our commitment to love unconditionally.  I want to close with a word of gratitude for my memories of having been a student at CTU.  Your mission has always been to educate women and men for leadership within the church community that reflects a clear understanding  and commitment to human kindness, and that we can only be human together.  You have been, and you remain a beacon of hope in the church.
 
The journey continues..."