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(St. Louis) Aquinas Institute of Theology is pleased to honor Reverend Mr. Dennis Chitwood, M.A.P.S., Deacon of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, as the 2011 recipient of its annual Great Preacher Award. The Great Preacher Award will be presented to Deacon Chitwood on Thursday, October 27, 2011, at Rose of the Hill, 2300 Edwards, in St. Louis.

Aquinas Institute, run by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), instituted the Great Preacher Award in 1995 to recognize those who by their words and actions have contributed in an outstanding way to the building up of the Catholic community. Aquinas Institute considers the Great Preacher Award a powerful means of renewing the Church and promoting good preaching while sharing its Dominican charism. The award is intended not only to sustain preachers of the Word but also to help Catholics become more attuned to hearing the Word.
Born in St. Louis, Mr. Chitwood attended St. Bernadette Grade School in Lemay and Bishop DuBourg High School in South St. Louis. He attended Harris Teacher College, Washington University, and Pope Paul VI Institute of Catechetical and Pastoral Studies. In 1994, he earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (M.A.P.S.) from Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Deacon Dennis Chitwood was ordained in the Archdiocese of St. Louis on January 28, 1984. His first assignment after ordination was at St. Mary Magdalen parish in South St. Louis, where he served as a pastoral associate and oversaw teen and adult formation efforts. In 1989, he began serving as a pastoral associate at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in the Soulard area. In 1994, Deacon Chitwood became director of the Catholic Newman Center and campus ministry for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and in that leadership role he helped implement programs such as the Spring Break Alternative, Taize prayer, Hunger Awareness Week, and the Awakening Retreat. During that time, he also was director/liaison for the Catholic Charismatic Center (now Catholic Renewal Center). In 2000, Deacon Chitwood went to Curé of Ars parish in Shrewsbury, leading the young adult ministry there. In 2002, he was assigned to All Saints parish in University City, where he also worked with young adult ministry. He then took up service with Annunciation parish in Webster Groves in 2005. Currently he is in semi-retirement, serving at the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in Soulard.

In addition to his parish roles, Deacon Chitwood has also offered pastoral service for many young adult ministries, including Teens Encounter Christ, the Silver Trumpets youth ministry, which he helped to found in the 1980s, and the Upper Room young adult ministry. Mr. Chitwood was also a chaplain at St. Louis University and with the Boy Scouts of America. He taught Advanced Homiletics for deacons at Pope Paul VI Institute in St. Louis, and was an instructor of Catholic charismatic spirituality. Along with many other ministries in the St. Louis archdiocese, in 2005 he and his wife Elizabeth co-founded Genesis Ministry, which offers spiritual counseling, teaching, preaching, parish missions, and retreats.

Deacon Chitwood’s service has carried him far outside St. Louis’s boundaries as well. In 1998 Deacon Chitwood joined the mission team with Renewal Ministries of Ann Arbor, Mich. With that group, he made mission trips in Ghana in 1998, Uganda in 1999, and Kenya in 2005. He is currently planning a mission trip to Costa Rica.

Aquinas Institute recognizes Dennis Chitwood’s work and leadership as a preacher in both word and service, and wishes to affirm him in his ministry and hold him up as an exemplar of the power of engaging preaching.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the October 27, 2011 award dinner, please contact Aquinas Institute of Theology at (314) 256-8877, or e-mail

Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Saint Louis-based Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry administered by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Offering both residential and on-line degree programs, Aquinas Institute of Theology is the only Catholic institution in America to offer a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree in preaching.


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