Father John Kartje to leave Sheil Catholic Center in June

Father+John+Kartje+has+announced+he+is+leaving+Northwestern+in+June.+Kartje+has+said+mass+and+offered+guidance+to+students+as+the+director+of+the+Sheil+Catholic+Center+for+the+last+four+years.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Father John Kartje to leave Sheil Catholic Center in June

Father John Kartje has announced he is leaving Northwestern in June. Kartje has said mass and offered guidance to students as the director of the Sheil Catholic Center for the last four years.

Father John Kartje has announced he is leaving Northwestern in June. Kartje has said mass and offered guidance to students as the director of the Sheil Catholic Center for the last four years.

Source: John Kartje

Father John Kartje has announced he is leaving Northwestern in June. Kartje has said mass and offered guidance to students as the director of the Sheil Catholic Center for the last four years.

Source: John Kartje

Source: John Kartje

Father John Kartje has announced he is leaving Northwestern in June. Kartje has said mass and offered guidance to students as the director of the Sheil Catholic Center for the last four years.

Jeanne Kuang, Assistant Campus Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Students and faculty involved with Northwestern’s Sheil Catholic Center will bid farewell to director Father John Kartje this June.

Kartje will be leaving to teach at a seminary in Mundelein, Ill. He has spent the past four years at NU providing mass, counseling and other religious services to Catholic students.

“What I find really wonderful is that it’s an opportunity for people to really transition from what you would call childhood faith to adult faith,” he said of his role at NU.

Students have approached him with questions ranging from academic stress to the loss of a family member or an unwanted pregnancy, Kartje said.

During his tenure, Kartje stressed the importance of developing nuanced views and beliefs rather than accepting blanket statements.

“Rarely in our conversations did Catholic doctrine come up,” he said. “It was really talking about the beauty and sanctity of life, and they didn’t need to be convinced of that.”

Weinberg sophomore Didi Odinkemelu, who frequents Sheil, said Kartje’s openness and willingness to share his life and struggles with students has led her to trust him as a source of guidance.

“I don’t feel like I’m constantly being judged by a holy person,” Odinkemelu said. “He just acts like a normal person.”

Odinkemelu said Kartje’s sermons have inspired her to let go of a fear of rejection and take more risks in life.

Kartje said he has focused on helping students realize how faith pertains to their lives, whether it be understanding Catholic views on social issues or staying faithful while growing up in a new environment. He encourages young adults to “let the faith grow up with the rest of them.”

Kartje can relate to students growing into their faith because of his own path to the priesthood. A Chicago native who entered the seminary after years of studying physics and working as an astronomer at the University of Chicago, Kartje became involved with the Catholic Church through volunteer work in the hospital ministry during graduate school.

“I started to really be impressed by the power of prayer and being able to talk about faith,” Kartje said. “I guess really for the first time in life, starting to think as an adult, ‘Well, what is this faith really about?’”

Prior to working at Northwestern, Kartje worked at parishes in Chicago before attending the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

For Kartje and the students he has worked with, his departure will be a bittersweet farewell.

“For right now it’s still sinking in about leaving Northwestern,” he said. “But I can definitely say that every time I’ve moved, if I’ve been able to keep my heart open to new possibilities, there have always been great surprises.”

SESP freshman Emiliano Vera, who knows Kartje through the Catholic Scholars Program, said he was “definitely sad to see him go.”

“He has really helped to bring the relevance of the teachings of the Bible to everyday experiences,” he said. “Especially as college students, he’s very relatable.”

Comments