Illini Chaplain Monsignor Ketcham Earns Smyth Award
Feb. 3, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois chaplain and director of the St. John's Catholic Newman Center Monsignor Gregory Ketcham has been named the 2012 winner of the Father John P. Smyth Award, given annually by Sports Faith International to an outstanding Catholic athlete or coach interested in pursuing a religious vocation. Ketcham played football for a year each at Monmouth College (1985) and Quincy College (1986) before entering seminary to become a priest. He also played four years at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ill.
The induction ceremony and Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Halas Hall, home of the Chicago Bears, in Lake Forest, Ill. A reception will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ketcham has served as director and head chaplain of SJCNC since June 2006 and chaplain for the Illini football team since 2011.
"It's truly an honor to be receiving the Father John P. Smyth Award from Sports Faith International," Ketcham said. "I have always felt that sport in general and football in particular is a microcosm of life. The lessons of commitment, respect, determination, hard work, teamwork and fair play can help form the foundation of an individual. These values also contribute to a person's spiritual life. It's a great inspiration today working with Fighting Illini student athletes as chaplain in helping them understand how sports and faith collaborate with one another. Many of our Fighting Illini embrace faith and are models of excellence on and off the field, and that truly makes me proud!"
Ketcham was ordained a priest in 1994 for the Diocese of Peoria and his previous assignments include pastor of St. Philomena's in Peoria, Ill., Sts. Peter and Paul in Nauvoo, Ill., Sacred Heart in Dallas City, Ill. He also served as assistant pastor of Immaculate Conception in Monmouth, Ill., St. Andrew's in Oquawka, Ill., and St. Patrick's in Raritan.
Tickets to the reception and induction ceremony are available here or by calling Angela Tomlinson at 847.331.6994.