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Monsignor Kenneth Velo receives “Blessed are the Peacemakers” Award, calls CTU “a sacred place”

August 2011

Addressing an audience of hundreds gathered in the ballroom of the Hilton Chicago on April 27, Monsignor Kenneth Velo quoted nineteenth-century novelist Herman Melville. “’We cannot live for ourselves alone,’” he recited, “’because we are connected by a thousand invisible threads.’ Tonight I look around and see I cannot live for myself because we are connected in so many ways as family, friends, co-workers and people understanding the mission of Catholic Theological Union.”

Monsignor Velo was the recipient of the 2011 Blessed are the Peacemakers Award. The award is presented each year by the Board of Trustees of Catholic Theological Union to an institution, individual, or group of individuals whose accomplishments reflect the values of the mission of CTU, particularly in the areas of reconciliation, justice, and peacemaking.

A leader within the Archdiocese of Chicago for many years, Monsignor Velo worked closely with Cardinal Bernardin, served as President of the Catholic Extension Society, and currently is the President of the Big Shoulders Fund and Senior Executive for Catholic Collaboration at DePaul University. He also helped to found the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union and continues to serve on its Advisory Board.

His deep Chicago roots and the many people Monsignor Velo has touched throughout his ministry were apparent—more than five hundred guests gathered for the dinner, including Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel, who attended the event with Alderman Ed Burke and offered words of welcome and congratulations to his long-time friend.

During his remarks, Monsignor Velo invited guests to imagine with him a slideshow, made up of images from his childhood, ordination, and experiences with CTU. “Here is a slide of Father Senior, Bill Reedy, and Father Al Spilly, talking about a center which would be named after Cardinal Bernardin to continue his legacy….The next slide is a group of high school students called the ‘Peacebuilders.’ They are enthusiastic as they have a message to bring back to their fellow students …These images all tell the story of Catholic Theological Union, a special place where interfaith dialogue, Post-Vatican II theology, the legacy of Cardinal Bernardin, and the future of the church all come together. CTU is a sacred place, as it prepares people for ministry to a world in need.”

For information about this year’s event, contact Anne Marie Tirpak, Director of Development, at (773) 371.5417, or