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Blessed Are The Peacemakers Recipients for 2012

June 22, 2012

On June 20, almost 400 guests gathered for the annual Blessed Are The Peacemakers dinner to celebrate the esteemed 2012 award recipients. In addition to being business and civic leaders, Renée and Lester Crown, and Shirley and Patrick Ryan, have actively promoted interfaith understanding, a hallmark of CTU’s mission.

 “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and one of its most groundbreaking actions, the decree Nostra Aetate, which initiated a new path of reconciliation between the Catholic Church, Judaism and other non-Christian religions,” said Fr. Donald Senior, C.P., President of Catholic Theological Union. “Therefore we felt that this was an ideal time for CTU to give the Blessed are the Peacemakers Award to our esteemed partners in mission who have done so much locally and globally to foster peaceful relations among the faiths.”

Award Citation, presented by Fr. Michael Slattery, O.S.A., Chairman of CTU’s Board of Trustees:

“Renée and Lester Crown and Shirley and Patrick Ryan define what dedication to the public good means. Outstanding business and civic leaders, extraordinarily generous supporters of the arts and the cultural life of our city, contributors to the governance of our most outstanding universities and public institutions, advocates for the most vulnerable of our citizens, exemplary personal and familial lives—the listing of their exceptional contributions seems without end.

“To cite Cardinal Bernardin’s words, ‘we gathered here’ honor them for a singular and profound contribution. Fifty years ago, the Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of Blessed Pope John XXIII, convened the Second Vatican Council, an international event that would forever change the Church and open it in an unprecedented way to the modern world. In his opening address to the bishops assembled from around the world, Pope John XXIII declared that with the opening of this Council ‘a new day is dawning on the Church … It is still the dawn,’ he noted, ‘but the sun in its rising has already set our hearts aglow.’

“Nowhere is that dawn created by the Council more visible than in the revolutionary change in the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism, the vital source from which Jesus and the Early Church were born. Centuries of conflict, terrible hatred, and persecution have turned into an era of Christians’ seeking pardon for their past failings, of Popes placing prayers for reconciliation in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, of earnest dialogue and conversations in every part of the world aiming to bridge the chasm of separation and misunderstanding. Through the contribution of thoughtful religious leaders such as Cardinal Bernardin and Rabbi Herman Schaalman and many others, it can be truly said that nowhere in the world is the Christian Jewish dialogue more advanced than in Chicago.

“Through their establishment of the Crown-Ryan Chair in Jewish Studies and through their mutual collaboration in so many projects that promote the common good of our diverse community, the Jewish and Catholic couples we honor on this occasion truly reflect that dawn of hope of which Pope John spoke. On this 50th anniversary of the Council and its ushering in a new era of reconciliation and peacemaking between Christians and Jews, Catholic Theological Union is most pleased to confer on Renée and Lester Crown and Shirley and Patrick Ryan the Blessed are the Peacemakers Award for 2012.”