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Christmas 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 Christmas Appeal below:

Dear Friends,

“Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

For many of us, this beloved hymn conjures up memories of celebrating our favorite Christmas traditions with those most dear to us. In thinking about this year’s holiday season, I have been inspired by the story of a Christmas celebration 100 years ago.

As you know, this year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I — the so-called “war to end all wars.” The effects of this war would be calamitous and long-lasting. Yet in the midst of this violence and suffering, we find a story of hope.

On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas, but the leaders of the belligerent countries refused to declare an official cease-fire. On Christmas, however, the soldiers in the trenches on the Western Front declared their own unofficial truce.

On Christmas Eve, the guns were silenced, and the British soldiers heard the Germans singing “Silent Night” and other carols … and they joined in. The next morning, Germans emerged from their trenches unarmed and invited the British to do the same. Even though officers on both sides ordered their troops to ignore the truce and threatened them with punishment for “fraternizing with the enemy,” soldiers from both sides exchanged Christmas greetings. They shared care packages from home and even played a game of soccer. At least for this day, the folly of war was set aside in the name of the Prince of Peace.

At CTU we try to ask that crucial question, “What would the world look like if we took the Gospel seriously?” While it only lasted for one day and was never repeated again, the truce held that day because the soldiers themselves — moved by the message of the Gospel and their ability to see each other’s humanity — decided not to fight. In the history of this terrible conflict, it is a point of light that offers us a glimpse of how the world would look if we took the Gospel seriously. 

At CTU we seek to exemplify the spirit of this moment, to proclaim the message of Christmas in the midst of hatred, violence, and division. In our courses, we emphasize that our faith is not just a set of abstract principles but a way of life that follows the person of Jesus Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” It is through reflection on the best of our Catholic heritage — the Scriptures, our liturgical tradition, and the social teaching of the Church — that we can make a difference in today’s world that thirsts for peace and God’s presence.

In this Christmas season, I humbly ask your support for this work. Your generosity makes it possible for our students to make a difference — to proclaim Christ’s Gospel of Peace in parishes, hospitals and prisons, high school and college classrooms, social service agencies, and in many other places where they minister. More than 60 percent of our students receive some kind of financial aid. They are dedicated disciples of Jesus who count on your help to be able to serve the Church and the world.

May this holiday season be a time of peace and blessing for you and your family — and an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the gift of peace that flows from the heart of the Gospel.

Merry Christmas!

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.