2023: Cathy Cornell and Paul Knitter

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2023 CRISPAZ Peace Award graphic

Honoring Cathy Cornell and Paul Knitter

Cathy Cornell and Paul Knitter will receive the Peter Hinde CRISPAZ Peace Award 2023 for their adherence to nonviolent resistance in the accompaniment of the people of El Salvador.

The recognition event will be held at Xavier University Conaton Board Room Schmidt Hall, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207 from 6 – 8 PM. On Wednesday, November 1, 2023

About the Honorees

2022 CRISPAZ Peace Award graphic honoring Cathy Cornell and Paul Knitter

Cathy and Paul have been married for 40 years and are the proud parents of two children (John Bigane, married to Angela Inzano, and Moira Knitter, married to Jenifer Tsocaris). They are also the happy grandparents of two grandchildren (Theodora Tsocaris and Elio Bigane Inzano). 

Cathy Cornell is a licensed clinical social worker, recently retired clinical director of the Oasis Program at the Canopy Center in Madison, WI, a program that provides treatment and support services to children who have been sexually abused and to their families. She has a Master of Arts in Humanities from Xavier University (1995) and a Master’s in social work from Ohio State University (1998). Her social work service has been primarily in community mental health, particularly with victims of family violence and sexual abuse.

She is married to Paul Knitter, the proud mother of two children (John, married to Angela Inzano, and Moira, married to Jenifer Tsocaris) and grandmother of two grandchildren (Theodora Tsocaris and Elio Bigane Inzano).

During the early 1980s, Cathy accompanied Salvadoran refugees who fled to Cincinnati and worked to reform immigration and foreign policy as Coordinator of the Sanctuary Movement in Cincinnati, OH, from 1985-87. Cathy and Paul first traveled to El Salvador in 1985 and led their first CRISPAZ delegation in 1986. Cathy has worked with CRISPAZ, Christians for Peace in El Salvador, as a Board member from 1987-2021 (and is currently an emeritus board member). She served twice as Chair of the CRISPAZ Board.

A longtime Buddhist practitioner, she seeks to integrate contemplative practice into her social activism and into her work with others, especially those who have suffered from traumatic experiences. As a meditation teacher, she teaches innate compassion practices to caregivers, social service providers, and social activists to help them prevent compassion fatigue. She served on the Foundation for Active Compassion Board from 2015-2022.

Paul Knitter is the Emeritus Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, New York. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He received a Licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1966) and a doctorate from the University of Marburg, Germany (1972). Most of his research and publications have dealt with religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue. This is the topic of: One Earth Many Religions: Multifaith Dialogue and Global Responsibility (1995). In 2002, he published a critical survey of Christian approaches to other religions: Introducing Theologies of Religions (2002). Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian, came out in Oct. 2009.

He is married to Cathy Cornell, the proud father of two children (John, married to Angela Inzano, and Moira, married to Jenifer Tsocaris) and grandfather of two grandchildren (Theodora Tsocaris and Elio Bigane Inzano).

From 1987-2021, Knitter served various terms on the Board of Directors for CRISPAZ. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the International, Interreligious Peace Council (formed after the 1993 World Parliament of Religions, to promote interreligious peace-making projects), for Interfaith America (formerly Interfaith Youth Corps), and for The Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership. He is presently on the pastoral team (preaching and presiding at liturgies) at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, WI.

The 2023 Peter Hinde Crispaz Peace Award

2023 Honorees event information

About the Award

Inspired in the testimony of the Martyrs of El Salvador, the CRISPAZ Peace Award was established in 2009 to recognize individuals or organizations that embody the preferential option for the poor in their work for the promotion of peace and social justice.

CRISPAZ, the awarding organization, has for more than three decades enabled thousands of individuals, many from North America, to accompany the Salvadoran people in their ongoing struggle for peace rooted in justice and compassion

2023 Event Sponsors

Romero Circle

  • Xavier University

Rutilio Grande Circle

Celina and Elba Ramos Circle

  • 2022 Marie Dennis
  • 2021 Casa de la Solidaridad
  • 2020 Sr Betty Campbell and Fr Peter Hinde (1923-2020)
  • 2019 Jean Stokan and Scott Wright long time peace activist.
  • 2018 Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. renowned Liberation Theologian and Professor since 1964 at The University of Central American in San Salvador.
  • 2017 Fr. Paul Schindler Long-time missionary with Cleveland Mission Society in El Salvador
  • 2016 Fr. Tom Smolich S.J. International Director of Jesuit Refugee Services
  • 2015 Hospitalito The Carmelite sisters at the Divine Providence Chapel
  • 2014 Asociacion ProBusqueda. Organization that investigates cases of the forced disappearances of children during El Salvador’s civil war.
  • 2013 COFAMIDE The Salvadoran Committee of Relatives of Killed or Disappeared Migrants
  • 2012 CoMadres Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Prisoners, the Disappeared and the Politically Assassinated of El Salvador
  • 2011 Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J. theology professor at the UCA, and pastoral minister to the rural community of Jayaque, La Libertad
  • 2010 Sr. Peggy O’Neill director of the Art Center for Peace in Suchitoto
  • 2009 Centro Monseñor Romero at the University of Central America (UCA)