Catholic Theological Union Coronavirus Statement

April 3, 2020


Kellene Urbaniak,, 773.371.5416

I would like to start my announcements this Friday with a word of gratitude and appreciation for our faculty. At this week’s Leadership Council meeting, Dean Dick Benson mentioned how grateful we should be that despite the disruption and stress of the COVID-19 emergency, each member of the faculty stepped up and made our pivot to all on-line learning amazingly seamless. I know from colleagues in other institutions that this shift for them was much more difficult — even painful. So, once again, I just want to express my appreciation for our faculty who continually show an amazing depth of dedication, generosity and professionalism.


I am sorry to report that a first member of our CTU Community has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Herb Quinde, Associate Director of Enrollment, is currently being treated at Northwestern Hospital for pneumonia which is a common companion to COVID-19. He is comfortable and happy with the care he is receiving but would appreciate our prayers as he faces this health challenge.

Glenda Spearman (Tolton Scholar, graduate 2004) asks for prayers for her younger sister Regina Reed-Thompson who died unexpectedly last Thursday, March 26, from complications due to acute renal failure. The family is heartbroken by this sudden loss, made more painful by the fact that they cannot have any funeral services because of COVID-19 restrictions and limitations. (They may plan to have a memorial service at a later date when appropriate.) Eternal rest grant unto Regina, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her.


After much discussion, we have decided to cancel this year’s commencement and invite those who are graduating this year to take part in the 2021 graduation ceremony (now scheduled for Thursday, May 20, 2021). Please note that those scheduled to graduate this year will receive their diplomas and certificates by mail, but will have to wait for the 2021 commencement to solemnize their accomplishments. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so much of our life as a community — causing the cancellation of ordinations, weddings, and most painfully — funerals of loved ones who die. Like these gatherings, CTU’s graduation cannot be held as if we are in “normal” times.

Holy Week

The Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Fr. Richard Fragomeni, Associate Professor of Liturgy and Preaching, will be working with CTU’s Augustinian Formation community to livestream celebrations of the Triduum. The plan is to post them on YouTube and Facebook. They would be posted on the respective days of the celebration: Palm Sunday on April 5, Holy Thursday, April 9, 10, 11. This is a collaborative ministry of The Augustinian Formation Community and The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. We hope it will inspire and bring some joy to those who pray along with us, albeit virtually, during these holy days that are and cannot be.

People of Hope

The Bernardin Center’s series People of Hope continues to be virtually well-attended. Don’t miss April 7’s topical presentation “The Catholic Moral Tradition Speaks to COVID-19” given by professors Dick Benson, CM; Maria Cimpermann, RSCJ; and Dawn Nothwehr, OSF; and on April 14 “The Spirituality of Thomas Merton in a Time of Coronavirus” by Prof. Dan Horan, OFM.

Volunteer Possibilities

Chris and Sheila Kennedy, founders of Top Box Foods Chicago, have launched emergency home deliveries of food to people sheltering in place. They are working with the City of Chicago to help fill the gap in access to affordable food for families who are suffering financially from this crisis. Their biggest volunteer needs are for drivers with their own cars to deliver food on Tuesdays and Fridays, warehouse helpers to assist with delivery prep, and customer service representatives who can call customers from home. It’s easy to safely volunteer a few hours. To volunteer in any of these ways, fill out this Home Delivery Volunteer Interest Form. They’ll do their best to fit you into the right volunteer opportunity, although this is a new program, and they are not certain of the volunteer needs yet.


As I indicated last Friday, our summer offerings this year will be on-line. Given the nature of the crisis and the fact that we cannot predict with certainty when we can safely return to normal, we decided that the best way forward was to go totally on-line this summer. If you haven’t had a chance, please take a look at our offerings and consider studying from the comfort of your home.

CTU — Distant Together

Check out recent posts from our CTU-Distant Together initiative during this time of sheltering in place.

Let me close with a newly composed prayer “In Time of Pandemic.”
Almighty and eternal God,
our refuge in every danger,
to whom we turn in our distress;
in faith we pray
look with compassion on the afflicted,
grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners,
healing to the sick, peace to the dying,
strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders
and the courage to reach out to all in love,
so that together we may give glory to your holy name.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
~ COLLECT: Masses for Various Needs and Occasions: “In Time of Pandemic

Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV President