December 2024 Newsletter

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December Newsletter

As we gather in the warmth of this festive season, the halls of our beloved institution echo with the joyous melodies of hope and gratitude. Christmas and New Year’s offer us a precious opportunity to reflect on the blessings that have graced our university and to anticipate the promise of new beginnings.
In the spirit of love and fellowship, we extend our heartfelt Christmas wishes to each member of our University of Saint Mary of the Lake family. May the birth of Jesus Christ fill your hearts with the light of faith, and may His teachings guide us towards a path of compassion, understanding, and unity.
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior and welcome the dawning of 2024, may your hearts be filled with peace, joy, and the love that transcends all understanding. During this season of celebration, let us also remember those less fortunate, extending a helping hand to those in need. Through our collective efforts, may we bring comfort and joy to others, echoing the true spirit of Christmas.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with God’s grace and abundant blessings.
In Christ’s love,
The University of Saint Mary of the Lake





Tuesday, January 23, 2024
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Regina Dominican
Embark on a transformative journey as the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and Regina Dominican proudly co-sponsor a captivating Catholic women’s panel discussion on leadership, guided by the foundation of faith. This event is not just a conversation; it’s an inspiring celebration of the strength, resilience, and grace that women bring to leadership roles.
Learn More and Register to Attend


Our 2023 Annual Report is now available covering activities from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.
View the Annual Report


Calling all alumni! We want to hear from you. Please submit any news you’d like to share with us and we will include it in our next issue of the Bridge Magazine this Spring. Or simply take the opportunity to update your information for our records.

You can provide an Alumni Update on our website by clicking here.


Gifts of Appreciated Stock: These gifts of appreciated securities will allow you to receive a tax deduction when you make this gift directly to USML.

Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA: Making a gift directly to USML from your IRA Required Minimum Distribution in whatever amount you choose will reduce the amount of your RMD that will be taxed. Note there is a maximum of $100,000 per year.

Donor Advised Fund: Your gift to USML can be made directly from your DAF. Consider donating to your DAF from your investment portfolio of the stocks that have increased most in value. You will receive a tax deduction for the charitable gift to USML and also forgo capital gains tax on the appreciated stocks.

For more information, please contact Maureen McGrain, Major/Planned Gift Officer at


USML held the annual Seminary Salutes on November 9, 2023 at IOUE Local 399.

Congratulations to our 2023 Rerum Novarum Award Recipients:

  • Ms. Leticia Ramirez, International Vice President, Director, Region 6 Mid-Western, for Labor
  • Karen and Phil Stefani, Owners of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, for Business
  • Mr. Antonio Ortiz, President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School for Government/Public Service
  • Father Thomas Mulcrone, Retired Chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department, for the Honorary Rerum Novarum Award
View Photos and Event Video


Through the support of our generous donors, our seminarians are embarking on a transformative journey of faith to trace the sacred footsteps of St. Paul on a pilgrimage like no other. This extraordinary journey will immerse seminarians in the rich tapestry of history and spirituality as they walk the path of the Apostle Paul through Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

This pilgrimage is more than a historical reenactment; it’s an opportunity for introspection, prayer, and spiritual growth. This is not just a journey—it’s an opportunity to deepen faith, and a chance to connect with the roots of Christianity. 

You’re invited to join our seminarians on this sacred expedition by following along and read their blog.

Read their blog by clicking here.


Our Rector and President, Fr. John Kartje, who holds doctorates in Scripture and astrophysics, gave an inspirational talk on the oneness of God and the universe — faith and science — during the opening session of the National Catholic Youth Conference at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on November 16. Read an article from Detroit Catholic, “‘Fully alive’ NCYC youth challenged to celebrate mysteries of faith, science, self” published on November 21.


On Sunday, December 3rd, the halls of the Mundelein Seminary at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake echoed with the enchanting melodies of Christmas and Advent during a soul-stirring concert that left hearts aglow in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.

Learn more and view the photos by clicking here.


The USML community is proud to announce that Fr. David Mowry, Waud Chair of Homiletics, has earned his Doctor of Ministry from the Aquinas Institute and has been promoted to Assistant Professor.

Together we exceeded our goal of $65,000 this Giving Tuesday for the education and formation of your future priests. This Advent and Christmas season is a time to share and give thanks. We are thankful for YOU! Thank you to all who supported our seminarians this Giving Tuesday, especially those board members who contributed to our matching fund challenges.



Chicago Studies is a peer-reviewed, digital journal of pastoral theology whose mission always has been to bridge the gap between the academy and the parish.

Click here to read the latest edition of Chicago Studies.

Juliana Vasquez, Ph.D.

Read the interview with the new Editor of Chicago Studies, Dr. Juliana Vasquez by clicking here.


The Unversity of Saint Mary of the Lake has received a $1,250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help support the revision of the School of Parish Leadership and Evangelization lay leadership program.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the initiative to encourage the flourishing of congregations by helping them deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the vitality of their communities and the world.

Our two-year Lay Leadership Program designed is to form the laity for ministry within the Catholic Tradition. The Lay Leadership program serves students including:

  • Adults in volunteer parish ministries
  • People who seek high-quality Catholic enrichment
  • Members of religious orders seeking to fulfill part of their novitiate formation

Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a Certificate of Studies from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.

The University of Saint Mary of the Lake is one of 105 organizations that has received grants through a competitive round of the Thriving Congregations Initiative. Reflecting a wide variety of Christian traditions, the organizations represent mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, peace church and Pentecostal faith communities. 

“Congregations play an essential role in deepening the faith of individuals and contributing to the vitality of communities,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We hope that these programs will nurture the vibrancy and spark the creativity of congregations, helping them imagine new ways to share God’s love in their communities and across the globe.”



For over a century, the University of Saint Mary of the Lake (USML) has been a partner in ministry to dioceses across the country through its work of forming men for priestly ministry at our Mundelein Seminary. USML is proud to announce a new phase in its mission to conform the world to the heart of Christ: this summer we combined our diaconate, degree, and non-degree programs into a new School of Parish Leadership and Evangelization, a theological school that is dedicated to the formation of lay leaders and permanent deacons to collaborate with our priests to meet the needs of this missional moment in the Church.

The University of Saint Mary of the Lake’s School of Parish Leadership and Evangelization is proud to announce the Cardinal George Mundelein Scholarship. This scholarship supports the formation of leadership through our Master of Theological Studies and Master of Arts of Pastoral Studies programs by awarding students from dioceses in the United States who send their seminarians to University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. The scholarship provides a $265 per credit hour award, that translates to over $11,000, or a one-third reduction of the total tuition for these foundational graduate programs in theological and ministerial formation.

For more information contact


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Sacraments of Healing

This course presents a comprehensive overview of the Sacraments of Healing—Penance and Reconciliation as well as Anointing of the Sick. An emphasis is given to a theological understanding of the rites, their liturgical celebration along with a review of the pastoral and spiritual aspects associated with these two Sacraments.  The introduction to the ritual books and the ritual books for the Sacraments of Healing provide the primary content of the course.


Class 1 | A Brief History of the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation
Class 2 | The Three Rites for the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation
Class 3 | A Brief History of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
Class 4 | Rites for the Pastoral Care of the Sick
Class 5 | Rites for the Pastoral Care of the Dying, focusing on Viaticum


Fr. Dennis Gill is Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia and the Director of the Office for Divine Worship for the Archdiocese. Father Gill completed his graduate studies in Sacred Liturgy at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Saint Anselmo in Rome. In addition to multiple parish assignments, Father Gill served a five-year term as the Director of Liturgy at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

He is professor of Sacred Liturgy at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and lectures on the sacred liturgy throughout the country. Father Gill is author of Music in Catholic Liturgy: A Pastoral and Theological Companion to Sing to the Lord.

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