February 13, 2018

Lilly Endowment awards $1 million grant to Catholic Theological Union

February 13, 2018 (CHICAGO, IL) – Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a grant of $1 million to Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school of theology and ministry in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. In support of CTU’s leading efforts to prepare effective leaders for the Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Dioceses of Gary and Joliet and worldwide, the grant opens a path for the school to identify and address obstacles and stress points that keep those ministering in the Church from thriving in their work, particularly those who are within the first ten years of ministry.

“From a Catholic context, we are uniquely well-suited to address these obstacles. We are sponsored by 24 men’s religious communities whose members study at CTU alongside women religious and lay students from across the country and around the globe. The variety of experiences and charisms that our students bring provide a rich and dynamic environment for engaging in theological and pastoral education and formation for ministry. The full diversity of the Church and its future leadership are present at CTU. Collaboration and partnership are core values for our institution, and this grant gives us the resources to continue to nourish and grow those values,” said Dr. Regina Wolfe, Master of Divinity Degree Program Director and Associate Professor of Catholic Theological Ethics at Catholic Theological Union. “The key is to identify real obstacles, stress points and challenges that our ministers face in order to develop programs that will, in fact, help them thrive in their work.”

As part of the Initiative, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) will conduct a national survey of women and men religious as well as a regional survey of Lay Ecclesial Ministers serving that Archdiocese of Chicago and the Dioceses of Gary and Joliet. These surveys will enable the design and implementation of programs that address real needs and provide a range of resources to support our ministers who serve in myriad ways in our parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, clinics and hospices. “It’s exciting,” Wolfe explained, “to have the opportunity to work and partner with these ministers and foster their sense of enjoyment and satisfaction as they put their gifts and talents to use in service to others.”

The Thriving in Ministry Initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grant-making to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grant-making priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years. CTU is one of 24 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent diverse Christian communities, including Baptist, Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Quaker organizations, as well as interdenominational and non-denominational organizations. Many of these groups are working to help ministers from multiple denominational traditions.