Continuing Education is offered at Catholic Theological Union to enhance understanding of the Catholic faith, to further professional development or to prepare for transition to a new ministry. Catholic Theological Union’s Continuing Education program offers a flexible course of study that can be handcrafted to meet your personal needs. Without program requirements, Continuing Education students may choose to audit any number of courses for continuing education units or to take them for credit. Upon admission, you may even choose to design an individualized sabbatical with the advisement of the Program Director. This year might include participation in formation opportunities throughout the year, study in the Holy Land, courses and workshops in the Summer Institute and participation in the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program.
Faith-based formation for leadership
Catholic Theological Union also has the capacity to develop tailored formation programs for your group, parish or organization. For example, in April 2013, Catholic Theological Union welcomed the first cohort of executives from the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation (FSCSC) to a formation program for leadership team. Learn more about Faith-based formation for leadership.
Dedicated to preparing men and women for the ministry of formation since 1971, the Institute of Religious Formation offers a comprehensive, spiritual, collaborative, intellectual, and experiential approach to learning, life, and ministry—all focused within the context of formation. The IRF has continually grown and adapted to the needs of the ever-changing world. It is a residential, nine-month program in which participants live in community and share their experiences with fellow ministers from throughout the world, allowing them to experience the global church in a real way.
By living, worshiping, and studying together, participants are able to model and live what is ideal in communities of formation. Through this process, participants develop the needed skills and tools for formation ministry. More than 1700 women and men have studied at the IRF program since its inception.
IRF uses several methods to prepare you for success in your formation ministry, including talks from knowledgeable professionals and ministers, dialogue, experiential intercultural living, self-reflection practices and formal research on current formation issues. Learning outcomes are:
Update your current thinking on issues related to Scripture, theology and spirituality.
- Sharpen your interpersonal skills for formation including listening, interviewing, confronting; explore group dynamics.
- Gain new insight into the role of formator as a spiritual guide; broaden skill and practice.
- Hone your understanding of diverse expressions of religious life and the dynamics of intercultural community living and ministry.
Human Development and Growth
- Broaden your knowledge of the psychological issues potentially encountered in formation and learn how to respond.
- Expand your personal awareness and comfort level regarding healthy human sexual integration for yourself and those you’ll support in formation.
- Better understand your role as a formation director in relation to the formation community, community members, superiors, spiritual directors, vocation director and others.
- Renew your personal spirituality and gain a deeper understanding of your congregation’s charism along with a contemporary understanding of the vows and models for theological reflection.
- Explore contemporary issues in religious life today, locally and globally.
Make a contribution to your congregation/province formation program by evaluating and/or suggesting new components through research on a specific project.
Costs and Application
Who Can Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen or do not hold a “Green Card,” please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure immigration documents and visas. We recommend those who require a student visa to apply by June 15. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.
When to Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen, please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure documents and visas. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.
- Tuition, room, board and workshop fees total $22,790.00.
- This includes tuition and all program costs plus room & board which includes: a private room, private bath and full meal plan of three meals daily.
- While attending the Institute of Religious Formation, all participants must have health insurance. If a participant does not have health insurance through his or her institute/diocese, she or he may purchase it through the health plan of Catholic Theological Union/University of Chicago.
- Additional personal expenses such as books, spiritual direction, and English language classes.
- All fees are subject to change.
- We are unable to provide scholarships to the Institute of Religious Formation program.
Once you have the application, complete all information and submit with the $55.00 non-refundable application fee. Upon receipt of your application, additional information will be forwarded to you about how to submit your letter of recommendation, along with a request for other supporting documents.
In addition to their coursework, all CTU students participate in spiritual formation that helps them integrate their theological coursework into their daily lives. This formation takes place in a communal fashion, and the formation cohorts are organized in the following way:
- Students belonging to religious communities participate in the spiritual formation programs of their respective religious communities;
- Students enrolled as Bernardin Scholars engage in formation with their cohort, led by Bernardin Center director Steve Millies;
- Students enrolled as Romero Scholars will receive formation in their cohort, led by Romero Program director Marco Lopez;
- Students enrolled as Tolton Scholars engage in formation with their cohort, led by Tolton Program director Kim Lymore; and
- All other students engage in formation through the Emmaus Program, led by Emmaus Program director Maryellen Knuth.
Join the internationally renowned faculty of Catholic Theological Union for an experience in the Holy Lands of the Bible unlike any other.
Stand on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and watch the early morning fishing boats. Climb the Mount of Olives and stand before the panorama that is the Old City of Jerusalem. Walk the streets of Ephesus and imagine Paul preaching there. Stand on the Areopagus in Athens, overshadowed by the Parthenon, and ponder the origins of early Christianity.
For more than 30 years, CTU Bible faculty have led Biblical Study and Travel Programs. This year’s program will be guided by Bro. John R. Barker, OFM, Associate Professor of Old Testament Studies. The program has two parts: a pre-trip online seminar, and a three-week travel seminar.
Encountering the Bible Lands, Part A
Prior to the travel seminar, an online course introduces participants to the history, geography, and archaeology of the ancient Biblical world. Students learn that acquaintance with nonliterary sources has important implications for our understanding of the Biblical text. This course may be taken for graduate- level credit at no additional cost.
Encountering the Bible Lands, Part B
Bro. John R. Barker, OFM, will present significant historical and biblical information at each site.
Program cost is $6,475 including airfare. Based on double occupancy and includes half-board, entrance fees, gratuities, guiding, ground transportation, and round trip airfare from Chicago. Does not include lunches, drinks, visas, or any expenses incurred for events outside of the scheduled program. Single occupancy, where possible, is an additional $1,275. Optional graduate academic credit is available without extra cost. Non-refundable deposit of $300 due with application (deducted from total). Scholarships available for students taking the program for credit. For more information, contact Ferdinand Okorie, CMF, Director of Biblical Study and Travel Programs, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.371.5521
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2020
A Collaborative for Theological Education, Formation, and Community, cosponsored by Catholic Theological Union (CTU) and the Religious Formation Conference (RFC) will be offered as a pilot program beginning with the Fall semester, 2018. Roman Catholic Sisters and Brothers who are currently in formation and have completed their canonical novitiate year are invited to participate. Participants will enroll in a graduate theology program at CTU, share community in a designated space in the residence hall, and participate in ongoing formation together as an intercongregational, intercultural, and intergenerational cohort.