Our annual Seminary Salutes was held on November 9, 2023 at IOUE Local 399.
Seminary Salutes: Rerum Novarum Awards Dinner is an evening of celebration, gratitude, and recognition. This event holds a special place in our hearts as we gather to honor and commend the remarkable men and women who have tirelessly championed the principles set forth by Pope Leo XIII in his groundbreaking encyclical of 1891, Rerum Novarum.
In response to the societal challenges posed by 19th-century capitalism and the extreme reactions of socialism, Pope Leo XIII laid the foundation for a tradition that transcends time. This tradition, entrusted to us by subsequent popes like Pius XI, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II, centers on unwavering principles—respect for the dignity of the human being, the right to organize, and the right to a living wage.
In the United States, this noble tradition found stalwart advocates in individuals such as John Ryan, Francis Haas, Walter Reuther, and Philip Murray. Countless others, at the local level, have dedicated themselves to the realization of a vision that prioritizes human dignity, fair labor practices, and the right to a just wage.
The University of Saint Mary of the Lake’s Mundelein Seminary, in response to the Church’s call to promote these goals, proudly recognizes and salutes the modern-day torchbearers of these ideals. During the awards dinner we express our deep appreciation for the men and women in business, labor, and government who have demonstrated unparalleled excellence in supporting the principles embedded in Rerum Novarum.
As we reflect on the words of Pope Leo XIII over a century ago, “The elements of a conflict are unmistakable; the growth of industry and the surprising discoveries of science…the enormous fortunes of individuals and the poverty of the masses…and, finally, a general moral deterioration,” we recognize the enduring relevance of these challenges. The duty to address them extends to every facet of society—family, labor, business, government, and church.
Our collective responsibility is to renew the vision articulated by the encyclical—to affirm the dignity of every human being, acknowledge the value of all human work, and stand in unity in support of labor. Above all, we affirm our shared conviction in the coming of Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection serve as the ultimate vindication of all that is good, just, and loving in humanity.
At the Seminary Salutes: Rerum Novarum Awards dinner we honor those who embody these ideals, we extend our deepest gratitude to each honoree, supporter, and participant. Their commitment to the principles of Rerum Novarum inspires us all and contributes to the ongoing journey towards a more just and compassionate world.
Thank you to our sponsors, donors, award recipients, and those who joined us in this celebration of virtue, dedication, and the enduring spirit of Rerum Novarum. Through your support, over $216,000 was raised for our seminary. These funds will be used in the formation of our future priests.
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
2023 Rerum Novarum Awards Video
2023 Rerum Novarum Photos
About Seminary Salutes
Begun in 1991, the Seminary Salutes to Labor, Business, and Government event was created for St. Joseph College Seminary’s to support the formation of college men discerning the priesthood. The event honors lay men and women who are examples of Catholic Social Teaching in action, especially in the areas of labor, business and government.
The fundamentals of this award are: respect for the dignity of the human being and human labor, the right to organize, and the right to a living wage. The evening provides the seminary with an opportunity to identify Catholic men and women in their fields, who by their example and work have promoted the social teachings of the Church. Those honored receive the prestigious Rerum Novarum Award from the Archbishop of Chicago at the Seminary Salutes dinner and award ceremony.
In 2018, St. Joseph Seminary was permanently closed and at the request of Cardinal Cupich, the event was moved to Mundelein Seminary. The event continues to raise funds to support the formation of young men discerning the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
About Rerum Novarum
In response to the excess of the 19th century capitalism and the exaggerated response of socialism, Pope Leo XIII in 1891 issued the first modern papal encyclical on labor and the dignity of the worker. This tradition has been adapted and reshaped by Pius XI, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II as conditions have changed over time. The fundamentals, however, have remained constant: respect for the dignity of the human being and human labor, the right to organize and the right to a living wage.
In the United States this tradition has been championed by John Ryan, Francis Haas, Walter Reuther, and Philip Murray among others, not to mention the innumerable men and women on the local level who have sacrificed so much for this vision.
The Church has called upon priests and seminarians to foster these goals, so it is especially fitting that St. Joseph College Seminary should honor the men and women of our day in business, labor, and government who have excelled in their support of these ideals.
In 1891 Leo XIII issued the first Papal document in modern times on the condition of Labor, Rerum Novarum. He began with an ominous assessment: “The elements of a conflict are unmistakable; the growth of industry and the surprising discoveries of science … the enormous fortunes of individuals and the poverty of the masses . . . and, finally, a general moral deterioration.”
Over a century later, the challenge remains and involves all of us, as it always has. The men and women who are the institutions of family, labor, business, government and church must work together to renew the vision and demonstrate a common conviction in the dignity of every human being, in the value of all human work, in the power of human solidarity in the face of human greed and exploitation, and most of all in the coming of Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection are the vindication of all human goodness, justice and love.
Chicago Federation of Labor
Archbishop Blase Cupich, September 17, 2015
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
Very Reverend John Kartje
Reverend Clete Kiley
Mr. Jorge Ramirez
Mr. William Callaghan Jr.
Mr. James Claus
Mr. James P. Connolly
Mr. Timothy Drea
Mr. Donald Finn
Mrs. Margaret A. Houlihan Smith
Mr. Patrick Kelly
Mr. Thomas Kiley
Mr. Michael Macellaio
Mr. Michael Mintle
Mr. Gary Perinar
Mr. Robert G. Reiter, Jr.
Mrs. Bea-Reyna Hickey
Ms. Kathy Taylor
Mrs. Marcy A. Twardak
Mr. Don Villar
Mr. Ralph Affrunti
Hon. Edward M. Burke
Mr. Dennis Gannon
Mr. John Hartigan
Mr. Francis J. Harmon
Mr. Martin Healy
Mr. Brian Hickey
Mr. James Madden
Mr. Steven Powell
Mr. Frank Stone III