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Viatorian Community

Winter 2006

Volume 11, No. 1

Provincial’s Perspective From Congregation to Community: A Reflection hat’s in a word? Some would say nothing, and others would say everything, and still others would say, “It all depends on the context.” I would like to focus on two seemingly innocent words that have been part of religious life Fr.Thomas R. von Behren, for a long time. These words, congregation and community, CSV, Provincial speak of a particular reality that has defined the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians) for over 150 years. Today, these words offer new insight into the living, changing reality of our community. Let me explain.


Within the Church, there are religious orders, congregations, communities, societies, confraternities, and pious associations. In fact, throughout the history of the Church thousands of “religious groups” have been formed to “do the work” of the Church. Most of these groups prospered for a period of time and then dissolved due to reasons uniquely their own. Fortunately, the Clerics of St. Viator is alive and well, actively engaged in the mission of the Church and embracing the charism of our founder, Father Louis Querbes. Fr. Querbes initially intended to found a religious association of pious lay men to teach the young people who were living in the countryside of France. This group was to be known as the Association of the Parochial Catechists or Clerics of St. Viator. Upon encountering ecclesial opposition to his initial concept of a “lay group”, Fr. Querbes quickly adapted to the reality of his times and changed his focus (while never really giving up on his initial dream). After many trials

and some disappointment, Fr. Querbes finally convinced the Church to grant approval of his religious congregation. On September 21, 1838, the Parochial Catechists or Clerics of St. Viator (soon to be known as the Clerics of St. Viator) was approved by the Holy See. In time, the Clerics of St. Viator grew in number. As the congregation grew, new missions were accepted. Viatorians were not only flourishing in Europe, but also across the Atlantic in Canada and the United States. (The congregation eventually expanded to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.) It was clear that, finally, the Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator was firmly established. During the 20th century, the Congregation – especially in the United States – was comprised of priests serving the needs of the local church in schools and parishes. They were vowed men firmly entrenched in the mission of the Church, working under the authority of the local bishop. The Viatorian Novitiate was filled to the brim. After the Second Vatican Council, the Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator experienced a significant decline in religious vocations. However, “When God closes a door, God often opens a window!” As the congregation was experiencing diminishment in terms of vowed members, the Viatorian Community began experiencing new birth and new life, with the welcome addition of a “lay group” called Viatorian Associates. Yes, the Viatorian Community is growing, expanding, and experiencing new vocations. The dream of Fr. Querbes is once again coming to life. Throughout the international community, lay men and women are joining the Viatorians. Sharing in the Viatorian mission, community and spirituality, a new reality is being realized as the 21st century breaks upon us. continued on page 2

Along with your prayers, your financial assistance is greatly appreciated by the Viatorians to continue our ministries in the United States as well as 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 847-398-6805 You may designate where your gifts will be used, or you can trust us to distribute the funds where they are needed most at a particular time. 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 before the tabernacle in the renovated 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 may find an envelope that one may also use to list prayer intentions. You may request cards by calling 847-398-6805 or visiting us at

Provincial’s Perspective... continued from page 1

And with this new reality, new vocabulary is needed to describe the Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator. With the addition of lay men and women, we are experiencing a refoundation and a rebirth. This reality is best described as The Viatorian Community.

complementary nature of its respective vocation – as committed religious and as committed laypeople sharing together in mission, community, and spirituality. This complementary relationship offers a model of Church that is nourishing for religious and lay alike.

What’s in a word? The simple fact is that the Clerics of St. Viator is moving from being defined by the word congregation to being defined by the word community. The name Viatorian Community moves us from being identified as professed brothers and priests, to a community of professed brothers and priests as well as lay men and women, joined together in our common embrace of the charism of Fr. Querbes, each living out our common baptismal call as Viatorians.

Yes, times are changing. And perhaps, the reality of the original dream of Fr. Querbes is taking flight once again!

Congregation speaks of our institutional relationship with the Church. Community speaks of our new reality as religious and associates. Each respects the

May you be blessed and protected by our loving God. Adored and Loved Be Jesus. In St. Viator and Fr. Querbes,

Rev. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Provincial

Celebrating 50 years of Ministry in Nevada Forty-eight Viatorians, former Viatorians, and Associates from around the country attended a weekend of celebration in Las Vegas commemorating the 50 years that the Clerics of St. Viator have served the people of Nevada. The dinner at Palace Station Hotel on Saturday, September 17 brought many happy moments to remember. More than 400 people who serve, have served with, or been taught by Viatorians attended the dinner. Thanks to the planning committee under the leadership of Viatorian Associate, Marie Feeney, everyone had a great time with many good laughs and “Do you remember. . .” stories. John Mowbray, whose grandparents on the Hammes side of the family were most instrumental in bringing the Viatorians to Nevada, was emcee for the evening. The Most Reverend Joseph Pepe, Bishop of Las Vegas, thanked the Viatorians for the contributions to the religious life of the people of the dioceses of Reno and Las Vegas. Connie and Chuck Gerber who spent 40 years of their lives at Bishop Gorman High School had

good stories to entertain the smiling crowd. The Viatorians who spoke of their special memories were Fathers Frank White, Ed Anderson, Charles Bolser, and Dan Nolan. Fr. Tom von Behren, Provincial of the Clerics of St. Viator and past president of Bishop Gorman High School, thanked the anniversary committee and all who were in attendance for a wonderful evening. The unique program book, “Celebrating 50 years in Nevada!” contained, in addition to significant histories, the photographs of all 106 Viatorians and former Viatorians who ministered in Nevada between 1954 and 2005. Cliff Klinkhammer and friends put together a display of Gorman history with photos, memorabilia, and yearbooks that were viewed at the dinner and the reception after the Mass. A large crowd of friends of the Viatorians gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2:00 PM the following day, Sunday, September 18 at St. Viator Church. Bishop Pepe presided and Fr. Ed Anderson was homilist for the liturgy. Twenty-five Viatorian priests and ten priests of the Diocese of Las Vegas concelebrated the Mass. Seven Viatorian Brothers also participated in the liturgy, in addition to four choirs, one from each of the


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50 Years of Ministry in Nevada – The Short Story In 1950, Romy and Dorothy Hammes, who were members of St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee, were visiting their daughter and son-in-law, Kathlyn and John Mowbray in Las Vegas. They learned that the only Catholic high school in Nevada was in Reno. Soon they met with Bishop Thomas Gorman to discuss the possibility of establishing a high school in Southern Nevada. Bishop Robert Dwyer succeeded Bishop Robert Gorman shortly after that. The Hammes knew several Clerics of St. Viator, and continued conversations led to meetings with their provincial, Fr. John Brown, CSV. They reached an agreement that the Viatorians would staff a new high school. By late 1952, plans materialized and on September 7, 1954, Bishop Gorman High School opened its doors on the property donated to the Diocese by the Hammes family. Father Francis E. Williams, CSV was the first principal. Once the dialogue among Bishop Dwyer, the Hammes family, and the Viatorians began, one plan led to other plans. There was need for a new parish and, in 1954, Father Thomas Fitzpatrick, CSV was asked to found St. Viator parish. Bishop Gorman High School opened its doors on October 21,1954, the feast of St. Viator. Fr. Fitzpatrick celebrated the first public Mass in a bank located at the corner of Charleston and Maryland Parkway. Like so many stories, the early days of the Viatorians in Vegas becomes a long story. Bishop Dwyer began negotiations for building St. Viator Church on property at the corner of St. Louis and Eastern. When Fr. Fitzpatrick learned that this site had been an unofficial dumpsite, he refused to be part of the project, and returned to Chicago.

Fr. Richard Crowley, C.S.V. replaced Fr. Fitzpatrick. Upon his arrival in Las Vegas, construction of the church and rectory was in progress. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Eve, 1955. Within a short time, it was clear that Fr. Fitzpatrick was right. There were serious structural problems with the buildings erected on a dumpsite. Fr. Patrick Toomey, CSV replaced Fr. Crowley as pastor. The buildings of the parish “built on sand” were razed, and in 1965 the second St. Viator Church opened at Flamingo Road and Eastern Avenue. Fr. Toomey had also inherited the ministry to “the Strip” that Fr. Crowley had begun. (Some of our readers will remember the picture in Time Magazine of Fr. Crowley and the showgirls who attended Mass at 4:30 AM in the storefront on the Strip.) Guardian Angel Shrine, right behind the Desert Inn (now The Wynn) opened in 1963. Sunday Masses are still filled with Las Vegas tourists. During the 60s and 70s, Viatorians who worked in Reno, NV, where they taught at Bishop Manogue High School, served at Our Lady of Wisdom parish, and ministered nearby at the Newman Center. In the 80s, Bishop Norman McFarland asked the Viatorians to take on still another big assignment: a new parish in Henderson, Nevada. Fr. Thomas Long, CSV was the first pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Community. In 1993, Father Daniel Nolan, CSV, a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School, was appointed the second pastor. He had the task of raising funds and building the present church, which was dedicated on September 26, 1996.

1954: Bishop Gorman High School, the first Catholic high school in Southern Nevada, opens its doors Sept. 7. 150 students. The Rev. Francis Williams is named the first principal. The Rev. Thomas Fitzpatrick becomes founding pastor of the then-churchless St. Viator parish. On Oct. 21, St. Viator parish celebrates its first public Mass in a bank at Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway. 1955: The original St. Viator Church is built at St. Louis and Eastern Avenues, on the site of the former city dump. Settling of the landfill later led to structural problems and the church was torn down. The church moved to a storefront at Eastern Avenue and Charleston Boulevard, and Jaycees Park was built on the site of the former church. 1956: Bishop Gorman High School becomes a fouryear tuition school. There are 85 seniors in the first graduating class. 1961: The Rev. Richard Crowley, second pastor of St. Viator, asks Desert Inn operator Moe Dalitz for land on which to build what would become the Guardian Angel Cathedral on the Strip. Land adjacent to the old Desert Inn is donated. Through the 1950s and into the "60s Mass was celebrated on Sunday mornings at various Strip hotels, including the original Last Frontier. 1963: Guardian Angel Shrine opens Oct. 2 next to the Desert Inn and becomes the defacto center for St. Viator Parish. Fifteen acres of Bureau of Land Management property at Flamingo Road and Eastern Avenue is purchased to build a permanent St. Viator Church, which opens two years later. 1966: St. Viator opens a school for 140 students in four grades. Today, nearly 700 students attend prekindergarten through eighth grade classes there. 1977: Bishop Norman McFarland of the Reno-Las Vegas Diocese designates the Guardian Angel Shrine as a co-cathedral of the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas. The first Mass at a newly constructed church building on the St. Viator site is celebrated on Nov. 16. 1994: Construction begins on a new church at the St. Viator site. 1995: The Reno-Las Vegas Diocese is divided into two Catholic dioceses, with Bishop Daniel Walsh named first bishop of the Las Vegas Diocese. He initiates a $1.3 million renovation of the Guardian Angel Cathedral. The first Mass at the new St. Viator Church is celebrated on Sept. 2. Walsh celebrates the dedication Mass there on Oct. 22.

Celebrating 50 years... continued from page 2 Viatorian parishes: St. Viator, St.Thomas Moore, and Guardian Angel Shrine, and Bishop Gorman High School. At the end of Mass the Viatorians sang “Ecce Viator.” The reception that followed at the St. Viator Parish Center concluded the celebrations.

Key accomplishments of Viatorians compiled from research of Marie Feeney, coordinator of the golden anniversary observance, and Las Vegas Sun archives:

A letter from Fr. John Hanley, a Diocesan priest, sums up the gratitude that was expressed by so many during the days filled with accolades: “My dear Viatorians. . . I remember you so well as a life saving gift to me and other priests during our early years in Las Vegas. You were always a sign of hope when things were difficult. I would love to be there to celebrate with you and to share our stories, but especially celebrate together that we have lived in Faith and you have enormously blessed us and this Diocese.”

1998: Connie Gerber becomes the first woman principal of Bishop Gorman High School and the 12th person to hold that post. 1998: Rev. Richard Rinn, a former Gorman High principal and president, is appointed the ninth – and current – pastor of St. Viator Catholic Church. 2003: Bishop Gorman High School, no longer under the direction of the Viatorians, announces plans to move to a 35-acre parcel off Hualapai Way near Russell Road. The new school is projected to cost between $35 million and $40 million and open in the fall of 2007. 2005: The Viatorian Community observes 50 years of service in Nevada.


In the Footsteps of our Founder


Father Querbes Pursues Civil Authorization Fr. Querbes arrived in Vourles as pastor Oct. 31, 1822. By Spring 1823, he had established a parish school for girls. He invited the Christian Brothers, Marist Brothers, and Brothers of Mary to conduct a school for boys, but none served in the countryside. In September 1823, Fr. Querbes opened a school for boys in one room of his rectory. Paul Magaud served as teacher and sacristan in exchange for Latin lessons. Magaud would soon enter the seminary challenging Fr. Querbes to discover a permanent solution. Toward the end of 1826, Fr. Querbes conceived the first plans for his Society. He petitioned his Archbishop saying, “After having examined for many years before God, an idea which, first of all, came …in His Presence,” he asked permission, to “carry out … the project...”. (Selected Documents, 37) His first idea was not to establish a religious congregation. His concept was a “confraternity” or “pious association”. He described his goal as a “desire of rescuing a number of married and single men, teachers of children of the poorer class, from misery and degradation … to improve their elementary teaching to the level of the Brothers (de la Salle) by offering religious education together with the learning required by the needs of society …”. (March 30, 1869 Selected Documents 32) The Archbishop “liked the plan without giving it much attention. He told him “to work it out with

The Berceau, Vourles, France.

Fr. Catett”, the Vicar General. (Robert, From This Root, p. 88) On Jan. 20, 1829, Fr. Querbes presented the proposed statutes to the Archbishop who received them“with cold benevolence.” However, “Fr. Catett … and most of the Archiepiscopal Council warmly approve it.” (Robert, p. 92) Fr. Querbes was a man of action. He immediately sought civil approbation. He submitted his proposal to both the Minister of Ecclesiastic Affairs and Minister of Public Instruction. The Academy (University) of Lyons Rector endorsed the idea. Since the proposal involved training elementary school teachers the Minister of Public Education assumed jurisdiction. March 20, 1829 the Minister wrote Fr. Querbes requesting detailed statutes, which he promptly provided on March 24. Fr. Querbes understood politics. Various religious communities prayed while he solicited endorsements from the Academy Rector, the Mayor of Vourles, two Rhone Deputies, the Minister of Public Education and Fr. de la Chapelle, State Councilor and King’s Commissioner. On August 8, 1829, the Royal Council for Education approved “The Statutes of the Schools of St. Viator”. In Lyons, Fr. Querbes was confronted by the Archbishop who was “less favorable to his project”. He was forced to postpone implementation.” King Charles X on January 10, 1830 ratified by Royal Decree the Decision of the Education Council. But, Fr. Querbes found “his hands were tied by the veto of the Bishop.” (Selected Documents, 94) “Only he had hope,” Father Robert observed. (p. 92) - Leo V. Ryan, CSV


What is a Viatorian Associate?

Associates are people who are interested in “formalizing their already existing relationship” with the Viatorian Community. Attracted by the mission of the Viatorians, Associates choose to live out that mission in their daily lives. Fully initiated Catholics, men and women, single or married, may become Associates. Associates must be willing to: show energy and enthusiasm for Christ’s call to change the world; share the Viatorian excitement for ministry with young people and families and for server to the Holy Altar; value liturgy and want to become more deeply involved with it; and seek to grow closer to God through Viatorian spirituality. Currently, there are 30 Associates in the Chicago province of the Viatorian Community.

patrimony, Viatorian Provinces Worldwide (Canada, Chile, France, Spain and United States) are united in fraternal solidarity underwriting the renovation of the 17th Century part of the Berceau as a Memorial Museum.

Every religious community reveres its place of origin. We, Viatorians, look to Vourles, France, eight miles south of Lyons. Fr. Louis Querbes was Pastor there at St. Bonnet when, in 1831, he founded the Congregation of Parochial Catechists of St. Viator “for the teaching of Christian Doctrine and service at the Holy Altar.”

The Museum will include a Welcome Center with an audiovisual introduction to the Life of Fr. Querbes. Three thematic galleries will highlight Fr. Querbes as Person, as Pastor and as Founder. A fourth, a Heritage Room, will reflect the living legacy of Fr. Querbes featuring how his vision continues today through Viatorian ministries worldwide. The renovation also includes the room where Fr. Querbes died that is now a Chapel attached to College Louis Querbes, Vourles. Both restorations should be completed before the General Assembly and Chapter in July 2006.

The first house of the community, the Berceau (literally “the cradle”), still exists, renovated and used even today. Because the Berceau represents our common


Around the Province Congratulations to Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Superior General of the Viatorian Community who was elected by the Union of Superior Generals to attend the recent Bishop’s Synod on the Eucharist. For further information regarding Fr. Francis’ experience, please visit


Fr. Dan Nolan, CSV, Director of Vocations, is currently in dialogue with a number of men discerning religious life as a professed Viatorian.

Colombia On December 5, 2005, the Viatorians of Colombia re-elected Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV as the Superior of the Foundation of Colombia. Fr. John Pisors, CSV was elected Councilor of the Foundation. Felicitationes Pedro and John.

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV Superior General

Fr. Tom von Behren, CSV, assisted by Br. Moises Mesh, CSV, offered a day of recollection for thirteen Pre-Associates in Belize on November 13, 2005. The Pre-Associates are looking forward to carrying on the mission of Fr. Querbes when they make their first commitment as Associates in February 2006.

Eight young men have been accepted into the Pre-Novitiate Program in Colombia. Fr. Rafael Sanabria, CSV will serve as the Director of Pre-Novices. Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, will serve as Director of Casa de Formacion.

Fr. Chris Glancy, CSV and St. Francis Xavier Parish (Belize) have begun preparations for hosting the National Catholic Teachers Convention scheduled for February 25, 2006. Teachers from Catholic schools across the country will gather to discuss, among other issues, their important ministry in the Church.

Dan Lydon, Associate Principal at St. Viator High School (Arlington Heights), was welcomed as a Pre-Associate in a prayer service on December 7, 2005 at St. Viator High School. Ken and Michelle Barrie, youth ministers and parishioners at St. Patrick Parish (Kankakee, IL), and Dave and Susan Surprenant, long-time involved parishioners at St. George Parish (St. George, IL), were welcomed as Pre-Associates in a prayer service at Maternity B.V.M. Parish (Bourbonnais, IL). A number of people from Las Vegas and Bogotá, Colombia are in contact with Viatorians concerning Association. We continue to be blessed by the presence of generous and supportive women and men in our lives. Youth from Viatorian parishes in the Kankakee, IL region participated in the annual Harvest Sunday Program. They collected over 34,000 cans of food that were distributed to area soup kitchens and food pantries. Parishioners from St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee, IL collected money, food, gifts, and gift cards for 50 families affected by Hurricane Katrina. Donations were delivered in time for Christmas.

Viatorian Religious gathered in Las Vegas, NV and Arlington Heights, IL on November 25, 2005 to prepare for the July 2006 Viatorian General Assembly and General Chapter to be held in Rome. A discussion of different forms of Viatorian membership, governmental structures, and collaboration with local dioceses preceded the election of delegates Br. Corey Brost, CSV, Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, Fr. Robert Erickson, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV who will represent the Chicago Province at these meetings. Fr. Chris Glancy, CSV, and Fr. Jim Michaletz, CSV were elected as alternates. Fr. John Peeters, CSV and Br. Carlos Ernesto Flores, CSV will serve as translators and support personnel.

As we begin the New Year, please join with the Viatorian Community as we pray for peace in our hearts, peace in our families, peace in our neighborhoods, peace in our country, and peace in our world.

The Querbes House Community welcomed young men interested in religious life to a Come and See Weekend December 2-4, 2005.


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



Quarterly Newsletter – Winter 2006


VIATOR Is published quarterly 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 Dianna Ehrenfried Fran Guziel

Editor: Adam N. Clementi If you are receiving multiple copies of this newsletter and/or wish to be removed from our mailing list, please call our Development Office at 847-398-6805 or fax your request to 847-398-6247.

Meet the Regional Coordinators former high school teacher, administrator, and a pastor. His most recent assignment was as Rector of Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas. Currently, Fr. Crilly continues to assist at Guardian Angel Cathedral, St. Viator Parish and St. Thomas More Catholic Community in the Las Vegas area.

The role of the Regional Coordinator is mainly one of service to the associate and professed members of the Community. Viatorians, left to right: Br. Donald Br. Donald Houde, CSV serves Houde, Fr. James Crilly, Fr. Arnold Perham and Fr. James Michaeltz.

In an effort to respond to the needs of the membership, the four recently appointed Regional Coordinators of the Chicago Province gathered in Arlington Heights, IL on November 17, 2005. Together with Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, Assistant Provincial, they defined their role and responsibilities.

the Viatorian Religious and Associates of Chicago, IL. He spent many years in secondary education, both as a teacher and as a principal. He also spent 19 years working in the Office for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In addition, Br. Houde has ministered at St. Josaphat Church (Chicago) at the school and parish level.

Fr. James Crilly, CSV serves the Viatorian Religious and Associates of the West (Arizona, California, and Nevada). Fr. Crilly helped found the Colombia Foundation in 1961. He is a

Fr. James Michaletz, CSV serves the Viatorian Religious and Associates of Kankakee, IL. Has spent the bulk of his career in secondary education. He was a chemistry teacher and

principal for many years. He was also Director of the Catholic Office for Education in the Springfield, IL diocese. An innovator in education, Fr. Michaletz developed the Administrative Leadership Program at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. In addition to serving part-time at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, IL, he consults in the areas of Planning, Leadership, and Board Development. Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV serves the Viatorian Religious and Associates of Arlington Heights, IL. Currently on the Math faculty at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL, where he has taught for 38 years, Fr. Perham is no stranger to the Arlington Heights region. Fr. Perham, a Master teacher, has published material for AddisonWesley as well as for the Journal of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition to teaching, he has served in the formation programs of the community. The Community is grateful to these men for their willingness to be of service. Their experience and wisdom will be a blessing for all of us.

Viator Newsletter 2006 Winter  

Vol. 11, No. 1

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