John Shea - Theologian, Poet, and Storyteller

Hello, World!

On Friday, December 1, 2017, At Noon

In the Main Lounge of the Union League Club

The First Friday Club of Chicago


John Shea

Author, Poet, Theologian, Storyteller

Who will address the topic

“Christmas: It Never Grows Old.”


It will happen again very soon. We will gather around tables, in church pews, and on chairs and sofas in family rooms, living rooms and great spaces for our celebrations of Christmas 2017. It is inevitable. The calendar tells us so.

Yet, it is possible that our Christmas can get lost amid all the expressions of Christmas we are about to encounter. Somewhere woven between the layers of Christmas shopping, retail discounts, gift giving, favorite seasonal movies and music from classic to pop, charming stories about a Grinch and another about a reindeer with a red nose, there is found yet another story, a Gospel story about a young Jewish woman who birthed her first-born son, wrapped him in love and placed him in a manger. All expressions of Christmas are rooted in this Story that never grows old.

It has been the practice of the First Friday Club to invite a speaker each first Friday in December to raise our consciousness of the spirituality of this wonderful season culminating on Christmas Day. There might be no one better this year than John Shea to speak to the spirituality of this special time of the year. He is a very creative writer, theologian, storyteller and poet.

John (Jack) Shea is the former Professor of Systematic Theology and former Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He was Research Professor at the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago. He was also Senior Scholar in Residence at the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethic.

He is a very popular speaker in parishes, organizations and programs throughout the Chicago area and beyond.

Patrick Magoon - President and CEO of Lurie Children's Hospital

The First Friday Club of Chicago


Mr. Patrick M. Magoon

President and CEO, Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Who will address the topic

Our Children, our future - protecting their health and well-being Health Care has been a major topic of political and social conversation for the past eight months as well as a recurring theme in our country for almost eight years.

However, as important as health care coverage, insurance plans, government support, and percent of payment is, something is getting lost; namely, the day-to-day health care being administered to people of all ages and levels of physical and mental health.

As you read this, health care professionals and institutions are caring for the sick, the vulnerable, the needy of all ages, no matter who they are.

Mr. Patrick Magoon, who for the past 40 years, has committed his entire professional career to the health and well-being of children will be our speaker. Mr. Magoon has been President and CEO of Lurie Children's Hospital and its predecessor, Children's Memorial Hospital, since 1997.

Please join us at Noon, on Nov. 3rd, as we step away from the political banter of health care and focus on actual health care. Children don't vote. They don't give voice to a political opinion. They are innocent. They are vulnerable. And for those children at Lurie Children's Hospital they are sick. What do we, as a society, owe these children? They might not be our children, but they are our future.

Justice Anne Burke - Commemorating 50 Years of the Special Olympics

The First Friday Club of Chicago


The Honorable Anne M. Burke

Illinois Supreme Court Justice and

Founder of the Special Olympics

Who will address the Topic

Commemorating 50 Years of the Special Olympics
Is It Possible for One Person to Change the World?

And the answer to that question is: Yes, it is. Yes, she did. But did she ever think that was possible on July 20, 1968, when she was a 23 year-old special education instructor with the Chicago Park District, and lead a group of special needs athletes into Soldier Field? Probably not. But what Anne McGlone began at age 28 has changed the world.

Justice Anne Burke has seen her dream become incarnate around the world. On July 25, 2015 she witnessed over 7000 Special Olympians march into the Los Angeles Coliseum. They represented over 177 countries. Amazing!

Justice Burke's dream has always been more profound than an opportunity for these special Olympians to engage in sports and recreational activity. She began a movement to move a large segment of our society from darkness of social unacceptability into the full light of citizenship in our country and our society.

Justice Anne Burke said it best. "We're always talking about disabilities. Everybody has challenges no matter who they are. If you treat people with respect and give them an opportunity no matter what their challenge is, great things can happen."

Please join us at Noon on October 6th when Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke speaks to us about a dream she had that has lead our fellow human beings from Soldier Field through the gates of the Los Angeles Coliseum into the fullness of light as Sons and Daughters of God. And that is who we all are.

David Axelrod - "The Evolving Media and political Landscape"

riday, May 5, 2017, At Noon At the Union League Club

The First Friday Club of Chicago


David Axelrod

Political Commentator and Author

Who will address the issue:

“The Evolving Media and Political Landscape”


David Axelrod was motivated by a sense of idealism at an early age. At 5 years old, he witnessed an inspiring speech by John F. Kennedy, in New York, which would set his life on a political course. Axelrod credits this formative experience with arousing a life passion for politics, and, in 1972, Axelrod moved to Illinois to study political science at the University of Chicago.

Upon graduating from college, Axelrod began working for the Chicago Tribune. In 1981, by the age of 27, he gained acclaim for being the youngest political writer in the newspaper's history.

After eight years of political reporting, Axelrod left the paper to pursue a career in campaign consulting. This included being the media strategist for 150 state, local and national political campaigns. He is the former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

He currently serves as Director of the University of Chicago's non-partisan Institute for Politics; senior political commentator for CNN; and host of The Axe Files, a top-rated podcast jointly produced by CNN and his institute. Axelrod is also the author of The New York Times best- selling memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

Mark K. Shriver: My Search for the Real Pope Francis

On Friday, April 7, 2017

The First Friday Club of Chicago in Cooperation with the Authors Group (Union League Club)


Mr. Mark Shriver

President, Save The Children Action Network

Author, PILGRIMAGE - My Search for the Real Pope Francis

Who Will Address the Topic

"My Search for the Real Pope Francis"

Pope Francis very quickly has become one of the most fascinating and one of the most popular people in the world. He is adored by millions and disdained by many others. Who is he? Where did he come from? What motivates him? How did he become so compassionate to the poor and marginalized?

Mark Shriver set out to find answers to those and many other elements in the life of Jorge Marie Bergoglio. In his journeys through Argentina to the places where Pope Francis was born, lived, educated and ministered as a Jesuit, Shriver not only entered into the heart of Francis, he also came into deeper contact with his own faith, values and his motivation for doing good for others. His biographical journey into the life of Pope Francis has also led him to question even his own work as head of the nonprofit, Save the Children.

Mark Shriver is the son of Sargent Shriver, who ran the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago and became the first head of the Peace Corps, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, one of the founders of The Special Olympics here in Chicago.  

Mr. Shriver will be joined in conversation by Rev. Pat McGrath, S.J., president of Loyola Academy and visiting priest at Old St. Pat's Catholic Church.

Blase Cardinal Cupich: "GPS for the Soul"

On Friday, February 3rd, 2017, at Noon

At the Union League Club

The First Friday Club of Chicago


Cardinal Blase Cupich

Who will speak on:


GPS for the soul


Cardinal Cupich will offer some thoughts on how believers can respond in a time marked by moral whiplash and acrimonious public discourse.  The present moment seems to demand that we Christians choose between seemingly competing issues from protecting the unborn to caring for the marginalized, from defending religious freedom to preserving the environment.  What is the average Catholic to do?

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney: "Is There a Changing Identity of Catholic Universities Today?"

On Friday, February 3, 2017

At Noon at the Union League Club

The First Friday Club of Chicago Welcomes

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney

24th President, Loyola University Chicago



Contemporary America is experiencing two amazing phenomena: cultural/religious/social diversity and a rapidly increasing secularity. These phenomena are incarnated in the student and faculty populations of Catholic Universities. What is Catholic today in a Catholic University? Is there a Catholic world view that is taught and promoted? Is there a Catholic ethic and moral compass that clashes with a secular ethic?


Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD, is the 24th President of Loyola University Chicago and the first lay president in the University's history. She holds a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, a Master of Laws in taxation from Boston University School of Law, and a Doctor of Education in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeanne Bishop: "Forgiveness: The Impossible Virtue"

Would you have the courage or compassion to go to the prison where your sister’s murderer was incarcerated?

Jeanne Bishop, Attorney, Author, Social Justice Leader


On Friday, January 6, 2017, at Noon

At the Union League Club

The First Friday Club of Chicago


Attorney and Author Jeanne Bishop


Who will address the topic

“Forgiveness: The impossible virtue”

Many people in Chicago remember the horrible events of an unspeakable crime that took place in the northern suburbs 26 years ago.  Newspaper and television coverage was extensive and emotionally exhausting.  The story is familiar but the names of the people involved appear to have been forgotten.

Our speaker, Jeanne Bishop and her family, seemed to be living the American Dream.  She and her siblings were born and raised in a quiet, safe, well to do suburb.  She attended Northwestern University and had a good job at a top Chicago law firm.

The world changed for them on a dark night in 1990, just before Easter.  After a family dinner to celebrate the impending birth of her younger sister’s baby, tragedy struck.  Jeanne received a phone call the next morning. Her sister Nancy, brother-in-law Richard, and the unborn baby were gone.  Murdered in their own home, in the sleepy village of Winnetka.  … How? … Why?

Did the family experience crushing sadness? Yes. Was there anger and bitterness?  Maybe at first.  Was there a Desire for Revenge??

Jeanne will share her long journey of Forgiveness.  A journey that started when she told the police investigators that she didn't want to hate anybody.  Along the way she spent time with the author of Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean, lobbied Gov. George Ryan about the death penalty, and met others who challenged her to examine her faith and Christian beliefs.

Would you have the courage or compassion to go to the prison where your sister’s murderer was incarcerated? Could you tell him he was Forgiven? Is Forgiveness an impossible virtue?


Fr. William Moriarity: "Living the Festival of Light"

On Friday, December 2, 2016
At Noon
At the Union League Club
The First Friday Club of Chicago
Father William Moriarity
Associate Pastor, Holy Name Cathedral
Chaplain Extraordinaire, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Who will address the topic
"Living the Festival of Light
Yes. Light is Stronger Than Dark"

December is the month that plunges the Northern Hemisphere into the deepest darkness of the year. Less and less natural light occurs until several days before the great feast of the Return of the Sun/Son, Christmas.

Judaism and Christianity both celebrate Festivals of Light in December: Hanukkah and Advent/Christmas. These festivals of light, one candle more a night for eight nights, one candle a week for four weeks, are true metaphors for the spiritual Faith that firmly believes that the Light of the World conquers any and all darkness that life throws at us.

The personification of that element of Faith is Fr. Bill Moriarity. For the past 50 years Fr. Moriarity's priesthood has offered life, healing, light, and hope in some of the darkest moments people have ever experienced. In this Season of Light, in the midst of darkness, the First Friday Club invites Father Moriarity to share some of his powerful experiences of bringing light in people's lives through his ministry as priest, pastor, and as chaplain to the sick and suffering at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His inspiration will be a call to all of us to "go and do the same.”

Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern - "The Finish Line is in Sight"

On Friday, November 4, 2016

at Noon
 at The Union League Club
The First Friday Club of Chicago
Ms. Carol Marin and Ms. Mary Ann Ahern

NBC 5 Chicago 


Addressing the topic

 "The Finish Line Is in Sight!"


    It has been neither a sprint nor a marathon. It has been an Ultra-Marathon that only the strongest athletes can endure. However, this "Ultra" involves politicians, not athletes. And, for most of us, crossing that finish line cannot come soon enough!

Political pundits, nearly every journalists and every adult across America, have said that we have never seen a race like this before. From the start line to that impending finish line are two of Chicago's finest journalists: Mary Ann Ahern and Carol Marin.

The First Friday Club is honored that they have accepted the invitation to address us on Friday, November 4th, a few days before those candidates cross the finish line.

Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern need no introduction to most of us. They have been in our homes for many, many years through the magic of television. Carol Marin, a graduate of Palatine High School, returned to Chicago in 1978 when she was hired by NBC 5 Chicago. Mary Ann Ahern, joined NBC 5 Chicago in 1989. She has reported on many of the Catholic stories in our city. In 1991, she was the first journalist to report on the priest sex/pedophile crisis. She has covered the stories of the lives and deaths of Cardinals and Popes.