WASHINGTON — Washington Theological Union began its new semester Jan. 11 on an upbeat note, with a newly-installed president, several new staff members, and plans for the future.
Fr. Frederick Tillotson, O.Carm., was installed as president in a festive Advent ceremony with lessons and carols on Dec. 4. Approximately 200 people attended, including Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and other Holy Name Province friars including Francis Di Spigno, OFM, HNP director of post-novitiate formation, and student friars Frank Critch, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, Daniel Horan, OFM, Jeffery Jordan, OFM, and others from Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md.
The installation address of Fr. Tillotson, who joined the Union last June, is on the WTU Web site.
The union also recently hired several staff members in the departments of institutional advancement and communications. “There is an exciting feeling of resurgence in the air,” said Joan Knetemann, new director of institutional advancement, who also oversees public relations.
One of Fr. Tillotson’s first initiatives is the formation of a strategic planning committee. News of the committee was featured in the WTU e-letter, ePistle. Distributed on Sundays, ePistle combines the former weekly Pulse and the previous monthly e-letter, also called ePistle.
The Jan. 10 e-newsletter also reported on a new scholarship fund, named for the late Jerry Hall, SJ, assistant professor of word and worship. The fund currently has $5,330, but cannot be used until it grows significantly, according to the e-letter.
WTU also recently welcomed several new staff members. Christine Costello has been hired as assistant director of institutional advancement and Steve Langevin as part-time communications director, focusing on creating advertising campaigns and brochures for the union, according to Knetemann, who joined the staff in August.
The WTU Web site home page says: “In the nation’s capital, find a place of spirit and truth.”
Said Knetemann: “We are refocusing communications. Things are looking up as far as donations. There is a feeling that this place is going to thrive.”
On Feb. 14, the union will honor Fr. Donald Senior of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago at the Sophia Award Lecture. Fr. Senior holds a licentiate in theology from the University of Louvain, Belgium, and a doctorate in New Testament studies from the University of Louvain. He has pursued further graduate studies at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Harvard University. Details on his background appear on the CTU Web site.
Also in February, Russel Murray, OFM, will lecture as part of the WTU’s Nourishment for Ministry series. He will speak on “Ecumenism in Pastoral Ministry: Issues and Questions” at noon on Feb. 24.