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Viatorian Community

Fall 2006

Volume 11, No. 4

Provincial’s Perspective fter having recently participated in the 1st General Assembly of the Viatorian Community and the 28th General Chapter of the international Viatorian Congregation in Ariccia, Italy amidst the Alban Hills, I am invigorated and filled with hope.


Information on these two important events for our Community is provided within this issue of Viator. However, I would like to highlight two important items. First, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV of the Chicago Province, was reelected to a second six-year term as Superior General. I was proud to be present for his reelection and to witness the graciousness with which he accepted the call from his brother Viatorians to continued leadership. Additionally, I was energized by the spirit of international solidarity amongst the Associate and Religious delegates from four continents that was demonstrated throughout the three weeks in Ariccia. It is clear to me that the Viatorian Community is being renewed by the Holy Spirit. New life, new ministries, and new vocations are springing forth in both the Congregation and Community, especially in Africa and Latin America. Association is growing rapidly. The mission of catechizing the young and the efforts to raise up communities where Faith is lived, deepened, and celebrated is spreading to new countries. Outreach to the marginalized of today’s society where Viatorians serve continues to expand—from helping to provide quality education for low income youth in Waukegan, Illinois to caring for children

infected with HIV/AIDS in the Ivory Coast. The inspiration and vision of our founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, is expanding and making a daily impact in the lives of countless people. I realize more and more that we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of our country of origin. I believe it is incumbent on each of us to find the means to communicate better in order to eliminate that which we perceive separates us. In this world, much more unites us than divides us. What a gift we can be to one another as we discover that which we have in common. As the Cause for Fr. Querbes advances and as we move closer to his beatification and eventual sainthood, it is my hope and prayer that his spirit will continue to direct and enliven his followers along the Viatorian Way. I thank you for your support and prayers. I once again seek your continued assistance as we reach out as an international community to meet the spiritual and material needs of those we serve. As St. Viator Day approaches on October 21, know that you will be in our prayers as Viatorians throughout the world gather in celebration to honor our patron on his feast day. In St. Viator and Fr. Querbes,

Reverend Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Provincial

Along with your prayers, your financial assistance is greatly appreciated by the Viatorians to continue our ministries in the United States and overseas. If you would like to assist us financially in our ministries, gifts may be sent to: Viatorian Development Office 1212 East Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60004 847-637-2124 You can either designate where your gifts will be used or delegate us to distribute the funds where they are most needed. As a non-profit and tax- exempt organization, the Viatorians are very grateful for your prayers and financial support in “educating for the future.” For wills and bequests: Clerics of St. Viator an Illinois Corporation

The Nazareth League of Prayers was established by the Clerics of St. Viator to give our friends the opportunity to share in the prayers of the Viatorian Community. Viatorian priests and brothers remember all those who have asked for our prayers and are grateful for the generosity and kindness of those who have supported our ministry. Once enrolled in the Nazareth League, requests are inscribed in a book of intentions and placed in the chapel at the Province Center. To take advantage of the Nazareth League of Prayers, you may request prayer cards for enrollment in the Nazareth Prayer League or simply order specific cards yourself. Inserted in each issue of VIATOR you will find an envelope that you can also use to list prayer intentions. You can request cards by calling 847-637-2124 or visiting us at

2006 General Assembly This summer Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, Associate Marilyn Mulcahy, Associate John Ohlendorf, and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV represented the Chicago Province as delegates to the first General Assembly of the Viatorian Community. Forty delegates from eleven different countries came together July 1- 8 for this historic event. The work of the Assembly was to draft The Charter of the Viatorian Community. The General Chapter of 2000 officially recognized that the Viatorian Community is made up of vowed religious and associates as “coheirs of the charism and co-responsible for carrying out the mission.” This charter, developed by the General Assembly and General Chapter of 2006, will serve to further define this new entity. The topics covered by the charter include Identity; Charism: Mission, Spiritual Life and Community Life; Initial and Ongoing Formation; Vocation Ministry; and Structures. The Assembly worked on these principal elements and then passed their work onto the vowed religious who gathered as members of the General Chapter, where they further developed and refined the charter. It will be distributed throughout the Community and lived out in every region of every province.

2006 Assembly Delegates and Support Staff Gathering with Viatorians from around the world was most effective in helping develop a much broader picture of the international Viatorian Community. As each province and foundation gave a presentation on Association, those in attendance were moved by the stories of how Association is lived out in the other provinces and foundations. While Association is in many ways specific to the culture of each country, the joys and challenges of Associate commitment are quite similar. As delegates prayed, worked and socialized throughout the week, they came to know one another better and in different ways. Home addresses and e-mail addresses were exchanged so that they can continue to support one another and share ideas. Many commented on their deeper level of understanding and being called to a deeper level of commitment.

2006 General Chapter Forty Viatorian brothers and priests from Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Peru, Spain, and United States gathered at Casa Divin Maestro in Ariccia, Italy for the 28th General Chapter of the Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator. The purpose of the two-week chapter was threefold. First, delegates met in plenary sessions and working groups to discuss issues and make decisions relating to the charism of Viatorian Founder Fr. Louis Querbes, community life, finance, governance, membership, mission, and spirituality. Delegates established two priorities that will be studied and implemented ad experimentum over the next six years in each province throughout the world. The first priority calls Viatorians to explore means of implementing the Viatorian Charter, drafted during the Viatorian Assembly, as discussed in the preceding article. The second priority encourages the development of international solidarity both within the Viatorian Community, through interpersonal relationships and the sharing of human and material resources, and outside the Community for the benefit of the impoverished countries and groups where Viatorians serve.

Much progress was made in developing solidarity among those in attendance as members, from diverse cultures, shared their experiences of what it means to be a Viatorian.

Plenary sessions were conducted in French, Spanish and English.

Finally, delegates reelected Fr. Mark Francis, CSV from the Chicago Province as the 14th Superior General of the Community. 2006 Chapter Delegates


Fr. Behn-Daunais Chèrenfant from Haiti proclaims the Gospel.

Election of Superior General The 2006 Viatorian Chapter elected Fr. Mark Francis, CSV to a second six-year term as Superior General of the Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians). As Superior General, Fr. Francis will direct the mission of the Viatorians from its international headquarters in Rome. His principal role is to promote the spiritual and apostolic life of the Viatorian Community comprised of 271 associates and 608 religious serving in Belize, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, and United States. A 1971 graduate of St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL, Fr. Francis entered the Viatorian novitiate in 1974 and professed his first vows in 1976. He professed his perpetual vows in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He has ministered in the Dioceses of Chicago, IL, Joliet, IL, Las Vegas, NV and Bogotá, Colombia. Prior to his election in 2000, Fr. Francis served as professor of liturgy at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL for thirteen years. Fr. Francis will be assisted by Fr. Gregorio Esquibel, CSV (Vicar General) of Spain, Fr. Andre Crozier, CSV (General Secretary) of France, Br. Pierre

Father Francis, CSV, and the General Council Berthelet, CSV (General Treasurer) of Canada and Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV (General Councilor) of Canada. Fr. Francis will make his Profession of Faith as Superior General on September 3, 2006 in Vourles, France, the birthplace of the Congregation, in conjunction with the inauguration of a new museum and memorial of Fr. Louis Querbes, Founder of the Congregation.

In the Footsteps of Our Founder From Antagonism to Approval Fr. Querbes was a priest of deep faith, prayerful hope and trust in Divine Providence. Throughout 1828 he formulated his plan for a charitable association of laity to conduct schools and to assist rural pastors as catechists, i.e., primary teachers, cantors and sacristans. By 1829 he had prepared the Statutes under the title “Catechists of St. Viator”. Fr. Querbes chose as a model for his confraternity St. Viator, a catechist at the Cathedral School of Lyons, a 4th century local saint and companion of Bishop St. Just. His Statutes received approval of the Royal Council of Public Education on August 8, 1829. The “Association of the Schools of St. Viator” with headquarters at Vourles was confirmed by Royal Ordinance on January l0, 1830. Fr. Querbes prepared to open the Normal School in his Vourles rectory. Events of the 1830 Revolution intervened. Various problems faced Fr. Querbes, but none as painful to a loyal priest as the aggressively and seemingly unwarranted negative attitude of his Bishop, Gaston de Pins, who refused his Episcopal permission for the Society of Catechists of St. Viator. Why was Bishop de Pins so negative? The Bishop was angry at Fr. Querbes for presuming to go to Paris without his permission to seek government approval for his Society. It was a mistaken accusation. Fr. Querbes had consulted the Bishop who authorized his Vicar to make arrangements, including naming a temporary substitute at Vourles. The Bishop was annoyed that his own simultaneous request for civic authorization of the Marist Brothers had been rejected by the government, while the Catechists of St. Viator received quick approval upon the petition of one of his pastors.

The Bishop was further suspicious of the prominent role of lay men and women in the Society, especially “Confreres who, after education and service as teachers, could marry but still form part of the Society” and Aggregates (which today we call Associates) who “without having made studies …might desire…to enjoy the advantages of association” (Pierre Robert, Life of Fr. Querbes, p 88). This lay involvement was too radical in the clerical atmosphere of 1830. The Bishop withdrew his accusation when faced with the facts, but still remained negative toward the Society. He respected Fr. Querbes as a pastor and even proposed to promote him to a larger parish at Bourg-Argental. Perhaps he thought by transferring Fr. Querbes, that the Charter for the Society, which designated Vourles as headquarters, automatically would be revoked. The Bishop’s nomination went unanswered by the Ministry of Worship. Why? The Ministry was investigating especially a confidential letter noting many grievances against Fr. Querbes, including his failure to properly pray for the new Monarch. The Bishop defended him against these grievances but the government still refused the nomination. The Bishop considered promoting him to Tarare, but fearing another refusal, reconsidered. On October 21, the feast day of St. Viator, Fr. Querbes received word that he would be remaining at Vourles. On November 3, 1831, he received word that the Bishop withdrew his opposition and approved the establishment of the Catechists of St. Viator. Fr. Querbes perceived both events as acts of Divine Providence. - Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV


Formation News The Querbes Formation House was recently moved to the Hyde Park area of Chicago to be closer to the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) where Brothers Moises Mesh and Jason Nesbit will begin their graduate studies leading to the priesthood. Their course work will include the study of philosophy, Church doctrine, liturgy, scripture, and morality. Besides the academic studies, they will have the opportunity to participate in various ministries that will help them integrate their studies with practical experience. For example, they will participate in the clinical pastoral education program, which involves classroom work and patient visitation in a hospital setting, to prepare them to work with the sick and dying. CTU, with close to 500 students, is one of the largest Catholic schools of theology in the world. It was founded in 1968 by three religious orders: Franciscans (OFM), Passionists (CP) and Servites (OSM). These three orders merged their academic and financial resources to create a new school, located at 5401 South Cornell Avenue. Thereafter, other religious orders and congregations joined the three original members to become sponsors and corporate members. In 1981, the Viatorians became a sponsor and corporate member of CTU. Today over thirty religious orders and congregations of men make up the corporate reality of CTU. Initially the mission of CTU was to prepare members of religious orders of men for the priesthood. But as the needs of the Church called for a

greater number of theologically educated religious women and lay people, CTU expanded its vision to embrace the education of all who would minister in the Church. Today CTU educates seminarians, religious and lay people from all over the world for ministry in a worldwide Church.

Br. Moises Mesh and Br. Jason Nesbit gather for Morning Prayer.

It is in this stimulating environment that Brs. Nesbit and Mesh will have the opportunity to interact with religious and laity, participate in many cultural activities, and work toward the enrichment of the Church. We wish them well as they begin this new venture that will enhance their lives as future priests.

Renewal of Vows

Welcome to Ricardo Sedacy

On Sunday, June 25 Brothers Jason Nesbit and Daniel Tripamer renewed their three-year commitment to the Viatorian Community in the presence of Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, the Viatorian provincial. Approximately thirty-five other Viatorians were present to support them as they continue to discern and grow in their religious vocation.

The Viatorian Community warmly welcomes Ricardo Sedacy as he enters the Viatorian pre-novitiate program.

Over the past three years, both men have prayed and reflected upon their vocation as they actively worked in the Viatorian apostolate. Br. Nesbit, who has worked in youth ministry in the United States and Belize, is studying theology at the Catholic Theological Union. For the past three years, Br. Tripamer has been a mathematics teacher at St. Viator High School, where he currently ministers. Congratulations to both of them!

Ricardo is from Libertad Village in the Corozal District of Belize and has two brothers and one sister. He attended Corozal Junior College where he earned an associate degree in physics, chemistry and mathematics with a minor in biology.

Ricardo Sedacy

Seeing the need for priests in Belize and feeling his call to the priesthood, he entered the diocesan formation program and earned a BA in philosophy and letters from St. Louis University and then began theological studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. During the summers Ricardo worked alongside the Viatorians and felt drawn to religious life as lived within a community context. After a period of discernment, he is now beginning the process of formal entry into the Viatorians. During the pre-novitiate program, he will serve as a youth minister at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Corozal.

Br. Daniel Tripamer

Br. Jason Nesbit


Celebration of Fifty Years of Collaboration 2006 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the collaboration between the Viatorians and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1956, the sisters arrived at Spalding Institute, Peoria, to assume the domestic duties while the Viatorians engaged in high school teaching. The sisters later joined the Viatorians at the former provincial house in Evanston, St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, the Viatorian Seminary in Washington, DC, the Viatorian retreat house in McHenry, Griffin High School in Springfield, St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee and Alleman High School in Rock Island. Over the years, the sisters were known for their quiet and deep spirituality with which they blessed each place where they worked. Presently, the sisters work with the Viatorians at the Provincial Residence in Arlington Heights, St. Viator High School and Belize. In the United States they help the senior religious and perform various household duties while in Belize they work with the Viatorians as catechists to the Spanish speaking population. The anniversary celebration was marked by a special Mass in their honor followed by a reception. During the Mass, the sisters renewed their vows

and presented a video presentation describing the life of their founder, S.D. María Amada del Niño Jesús Sánchez Muñoz, and the work of their congregation as defined by their charism. After the Mass, everyone gathered for a joyous celebration that was held under a tent, which was decorated with memorabilia from Mexico and sayings from Madre Sánchez Muñoz. A nine-member Mariachi band provided the music and everyone enjoyed a delightful Mexican meal. Following the meal, the sisters sang a song they composed, which described their years with the Viatorians. Madre Sánchez Muñoz founded the congregation in 1928 and from the small beginnings, the sisters now conduct boarding and day schools, work toward the sanctification of priests by doing works that in turn allows the priests to devote themselves completely to ministerial activity, serve as missionaries, and conduct homes for the aged. Besides working in their native Mexico, the sisters are also in the United States, Italy, Belize, and El Salvador. Following the inspiration of their founder, the sisters continue to generously respond to the needs of the Church. We look forward to many more years of continued collaboration.

A Mariachi band entertains the guests.

The sisters renew their vows.

Good food and conversation were two hallmarks of the meal.

Around the Province United States Fr. Corey Brost, CSV recently published his second book of reflections for youth entitled Gospel Connections for Teens, Cycle C. The book connects weekly Gospel messages with teen struggles in an attempt to encourage young people to live their Faith to the fullest. Over 350 people traveled to St. Anne Church (Illinois) for the closing of the St. Anne Novena on July 26, which involved a special Mass of Anointing. The yearly novena has been directed by the Viatorians for the past 81 years. Among those participating in the anointing included Viatorian Frs. James Fanale, pastor of St. Anne Parish, George Auger, James Michaletz, Daniel Nolan, John Peeters, Richard Pighini, and Donald Wehnert. In August, St. Martin de Porres High School (Waukegan, IL), with an enrollment of 175 students, moved to its new location as

it began its third year. Three Viatorian religious and one Viatorian associate are part of the mission of the school which provides Catholic, college prep education for low income students. On August 15, St. Viator High School began its 46th year of offering a Catholic, college prep education to students in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Eight Viatorian religious and four Viatorian associates minister at the school, which has an enrollment of 1,075 students.


Fr. Dan Nolan offers a blessing.

Br. Carlos Ernesto Florez, CSV returned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Corozal Town in August as a pastoral associate. Br. Florez will work in the Social Services Program established by the parish as well as at Chunox St. Viator Vocational High School. Chunox St. Viator Vocational High School began its third year September 2006 offering students both educational courses and agricultural training. Two Viatorian religious and one Viatorian pre-novice share in work of the school.

St. Martin de Porres High School Continued on page 6


Clerics of St. Viator 1212 E. Euclid Avenue Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5799



Newsletter – Fall 2006


VIATOR Is published three times a year by the Development Office of the Clerics of St. Viator, Chicago Province Email: Website: Our purpose is to present the mission, ministries, news, and needs of our Community to those who continue to show interest in and support of our works.


Provincial: Rev. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV

Editorial Board: Rev. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Br. Michael Gosch, CSV Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde, CSV

Layout and Design: Dianna Ehrenfried, Visualedge Creative Services, Inc.

Editor: Fr. Thomas Long, CSV

If you are receiving multiple copies of this newsletter and/or wish to be removed from our mailing list, please call the Development Office at 847-637-2124 or fax your request to 847-637-2145.

Around the Province‌ Continued from page 5 Nicaragua

Colombia Fr. Alejandro Adame, CSV and Br. Gustavo Lopez, CSV sponsored meetings in Libano and Bogota` on Association. Several lay people have expressed interest in discerning their vocation as Viatorian Associates. Secondly, a vocation weekend was recently offered by Br. Frank Enciso, CSV and Fr. Edgar Suarez, CSV for twelve young men interested in religious life. Such interest holds promise for the Colombian Viatorians.

Fr. C. Gregory Jones, CSV recently traveled to Nicaragua to visit homes that were built with funds raised by Food for the Poor, the organization through which he ministers. He also visited La Chureca, a two-square mile garbage dump where people make a living digging through garbage for recyclable material. Adults can usually earn three dollars a day while children earn two dollars a day.

Fr. Jones visits with a family at their newly built home.

Peru Fr. Thomas Long, CSV visited Centro San Viator that serves young people from the foothills of Lima, one of the most impoverished areas of Peru. A radio station, computer lab, and drop-in center are among the many programs that the Viatorians and lay staff offer. For more information, please visit

Centro San Viator

Making a living at La Chureca Youth of Centro San Viator

Two children at La Chureca

Viator Newsletter 2006 Fall  

Vol. 11, No. 4

Viator Newsletter 2006 Fall  

Vol. 11, No. 4