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October 2012

Oct 26, 2012

CTU is a unique learning community. While some places boast of being a big university with thousands of students, CTU takes pride not in size or numbers, but how we serve - together

At the heart of this community is lay and religious learning together. Should-to-shoulder. Heart-to-heart. Issue-by-issue. Mission and vision. Theology and ministry. While individual charisms, callings, and vocations vary, the building up of God's reign in the here-and-now is a constant goal.

It's more than this, too. At CTU it is not only that lay and religious are learning side-by-side, but that they are crafting, dialogically and collaboratively, future church - together.

The issues, values, dreams and hopes of the laity are put in dialog with, inform, speak to those preparing for ordination. Similarly, those living in a religious community bring their perspective, wisdom and experience to the conversation. All gifts are brought forth and treasured.

As a community, as diverse church, we wrestle with making meaning of it all - together.

It gets real at times, too. Making meaning of God's grace and our limitedness - the big questions of life and faith - is not easy, to be sure. Creative tensions, stern conversations, spirited dialog, respectful disagreements happen. If we weren't taking seriously the charge to live the Gospel daily there would be no need for investment.

The product of our yearning - together - makes this community, our faith, and church that much stronger.

  • Lay and Religious
  • Full and Part-time Students
  • Ministers and Scholars
  • Campus and Online Learners
  • Young Adults and Career Changers
  • Domestic and International Students

There's more diversity at CTU than this, too; I'm sure of it. We're all in this together.

Shoulder-to-shoulder.

Ryan Hoffmann, Senior Director of Enrollment Management | rhoffmann@ctu.edu | 773.371.5523

Oct 22, 2012

The Israel Study and Travel group just returned to CTU this week.   For our students, it was a time of study and exploration of biblical and historical sites in Greece, Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan.

Seven years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a CTU trip to Israel and Jordan.  There is nothing quite like being in the land, walking the paths, hearing the sounds, smelling the scents of flowers and spices, feeling the intense heat of the sun, or relaxing in the cool of the evening.  One night we were doing just that, relaxing at the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  Typical of new-found friends, we were laughing and joking when one of us remarked, “I wonder if this was what it was like for Jesus and his friends?”  Immediately, the group fell silent, and the silence continued for 30 minutes or so.  The reverie was broken by the coo of a dove.  Then one of us wondered what it would take for peace to prevail on this planet instead of the chaos we often face.  We began to reflect on deeper questions.  The trip was life-changing for me as it was for many others. 

We didn’t have to be history buffs as the professors on the trip laid out the history of the places we visited. They read Bible passages and other writings as we journeyed through the land.  It was remarkable how similar the land looked as compared to the Biblical descriptions.   We were given special tours of archaeological digs and plenty of time for prayer and reflection. 

Having had a taste of the land that is home to many religions, where people passionately live their beliefs, I must admit, I long to return.   

At CTU, we have a unique opportunity in the January Term.  The course, Abraham’s Children, is being offered as a graduate, theological traveling seminar which is designed to introduce some of the basic elements of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith traditions through the lens and dynamic of interreligious relations and understanding.  It is open to participants from any faith or philosophical background.  The course will feature visits to some of the holiest sites of the three traditions and provides an experiential setting which highlights the relevance of history and theology to important contemporary global realities; participants are afforded the opportunity to build interreligious relationships with faculty and colleagues of all three faiths.  The course is being co-taught by Prof. Rabbi David Sandmel, Prof. Scott C. Alexander, Prof. Inamul Haq, and Prof. John Pawlikowski, O.S.M. 

You may have questions about this trip or other travel opportunities at CTU, or you may want to begin to dream about what it would be like to go on such a trip.  If you want to learn a bit more about this opportunity and check out the itinerary, please go to http://www.ctu.edu/abrahams_children.  You can also contact me for more information on any of our travel programs.

 

Kathy Van Duser, Director of Recruitment | kvanduser@ctu.edu | 773.371.5450

Oct 15, 2012

Full disclosure: I stumbled into the marketing and communications assistant role at Catholic Theological Union by accident. And I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

After receiving a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern, yet realizing the last thing I wanted to become was a full-time reporter, I applied to a wide variety of jobs from office manager at a boutique investment firm to community engagement officer at Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a hiring manager forwarded my resume to CTU.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first to throw my hat into the ring at a Catholic institution, because I was born and raised a practicing Buddhist! Especially in the field of communications, I thought, maybe they want someone with more intimate… or, really, any knowledge of Catholicism!

Ryan Hoffman quickly put my doubts to rest during my first interview. “What really matters to us is to have a diverse community of people who share an interest in asking the big questions," he said. "What or who is God? What is our purpose in life? How can we live the most meaningful life?”

WOW! My life has always been based on the big questions, albeit not in a Catholic context, so the idea of gaining valuable professional experience within an interfaith setting was intriguing.

I reflected on a dialogue between Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner, a practicing Catholic and past president of the Club of Rome, and a Buddhist peace advocate, Daisaku Ikeda, about the need for interreligious understanding in the 21st century and beyond.

“For me, it has always been most important not only to be tolerant towards other beliefs and cultures, but also, and even more important, to respect everyone who acts honestly and consistently in line with their background and aims,” Díez-Hochleitner said. “I try to learn from others to enrich my spirit and intellect, while contributing somehow to their well-being, advancement and happiness.”

The aim to create a global society, respectful of differences, is what I experience every day at CTU. I am surrounded by people who share my desire for peace and understanding in the world, just through a different lens of faith. At CTU, I am daily learning from others to enrich my spirit and intellect, as Díez-Hochleitner said, and I truly hope to be contributing to CTU’s well-being, advancement, and happiness, as well. 

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Oct 06, 2012

Welcome to “To the Point!” On behalf of all those in marketing, recruitment and admissions at CTU I’m thrilled you’ve found our blog online.

Let me get To the Point. CTU is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, literally feet from magnificent Lake Michigan on Chicago’s south shore. One area in particular – The Point – is known by locals for its breathtaking and serene views of Chicago across the blue waters of Lake Michigan. It’s a place for gathering with friends, taking a contemplative walk, meeting others in the community, sitting outside and having lunch. For CTU students it’s a place to pray and reflect, alone or in community. The Point is, in essence, a place for sharing, exploring, dialoguing, and more. We welcome you to the virtual Point.    

To the Point will serve as a hub for CTU news, reflections, announcements,  and stories of what we’re about. Faculty, staff, and students will take turns sharing with our wider audience the vision of this place, the ways in which we serve, the ministries and charisms that embody this community, and the rest of the myriad ways we invite you, those “out there,” to join us as partners in mission. It may involve tips on how to get started as a student and what degree program to pursue, ways to volunteer with one of our programs and make a difference, opportunities to attend a lecture or liturgy, and much more. So please, bookmark To the Point and check back often.

From the Point, thank you for visiting. If there is anything we can do for you please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Ryan Hoffmann, Senior Director of Enrollment Management | rhoffmann@ctu.edu | 773-371-5523

Oct 05, 2012

 

I have a two-part confession:

1.      I can’t get away from school for very long.  My friends and family branded me as a “professional student” a loooonnnng time ago.

2.     One of the joys of returning to CTU as a member of the staff is to reap the benefits of “being in school” without the pressure of being an “official student.”

It’s true—this week alone, I have considered Steve Bevan’s reflection on “A Day without Vatican II,” at our Alumni/ae Reunion lecture, contemplated the spirituality of Thérèse of Lisieux with Mary Frohlich at our quarterly Sundays at CTU presentation and Mass, and received new insights into “full, conscious, and active participation” with Ed Foley at our Rediscovering Vatican II Lecture Series.  Freed from the task of an upcoming assignment (and even note-taking!) I can revel in the fact that the transformation brought by learning is life-long. 

Of all my CTU learning moments this week, perhaps the most memorable happened outside the lecture hall.  As an auditor in the course component of the Rediscovering Vatican II series, I experience the joy each week of crowding into a classroom post-lecture with nearly 40 students and simply listening to the way the week’s material has moved us.  We span at least five decades of life; we have crossed most portions of the nation and globe; we are religious and lay persons, parents and priests, seasoned and emerging ministers.  And we struggle—intellectually, in the parish pews, and in our communities--to articulate how the Spirit present at the Second Vatican works among us today.  We simultaneously express gratitude and trepidation about where we have come and where we will go as a Church.  Toward the end of our time together this week, our Nigerian classmate Sr. Rita asserted that first of all, education on the teachings of this Council for all the faithful is key.  And second of all, she continued emphatically, pausing to sweep her gaze around the room,

“We are the Church!  So let’s do it!”  

Sr. Rita reminded us that we are sent forth to be Church.  Her reminder holds true for all of God’s people.  We are each called and sent.  “So let’s do it!”

How will you?