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Scholarship essays on Vatican II open to high school and college students

December 5, 2012

The Office of University Ministry at Benedictine University is sponsoring an essay contest and symposium for high school and college students to mark the significance of the Second Vatican Council in addressing the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world.

The topic of the essay, “Is the Church a Sacrament? How and why does it matter?” is the question the symposium will try to address.

High school students are invited to write a 1,000-word essay that draws from historical and theological primary sources, in part, while college division participants are asked to submit a 1,500-word essay drawing extensively from historical and theological sources.

Three essay winners from each division will be published in “Constellation,” Benedictine University's online journal, which is part of the searchable “GoogleScholar” collection and receive certificates and monetary awards applicable to tuition credit at Benedictine University. First prize is $500, second prize is $250 and third prize is $100.

Submissions for the essay contest should be made electronically through February 3, 2013 at

Students will present their papers at the symposium, “Light of the Nations: Reflecting on Vatican II,” from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 in the Krasa Student Center on the Benedictine University campus.

The panel will feature area academicians and religious scholars who will reflect on the forces that shaped Vatican II and the impact it had – and continues to have – on the modern-day Church.

Panelists for the symposium include Rita George-Tvrtkovic, Ph.D., assistant professor of Theology at Benedictine; Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Benedictine; and Fr. David Turner, O.S.B., assistant provost for Institutional Mission at Benedictine.

Other panelists include Fr. Joel Rippinger, O.S.B., of Marmion Abbey in Aurora; Gerry Czerak, M.B.A. ’12, former business administrator at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Parish in Naperville; and Susan (Udelhofen) Ross, C79, assistant to the president of the Morton Arboretum.

For more information, contact Mark Kurowski, director of University Ministry at Benedictine University, at (630) 829-6020 or


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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