Page 1

Viatorian Community

Spring/Summer 2010

Volume 15, No. 1

TheViatorians in Haiti respond to the tragic earthquake An invitation that the Holy See extended more than forty years ago to the Clerics of St. Viator continues to reverberate today with the international Viatorian community. It seemed simple enough, back then, forty years ago. The Holy See had turned to the Viatorians — known as educators and mentors of young people — to staff a retreat center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The acceptance by the Viatorian Community of this Haitian ministry led them to staff the Villa Manrese, a 100-bedroom retreat center with classrooms and meeting rooms, as well as a residence for visiting clergy and religious. Their unconditional response thrusts the Viatorians today, years after first accepting the invitation to minister in Haiti, into providing relief for thousands of suffering survivors. “It was one of the main pastoral centers,” says Fr. Mark R. Francis, CSV, Superior General. "Everyone knew about it. Thousands of people came through its doors each year."

Widespread Destruction with Remnants of Villa Manrese in the Background 2

Survivors Receiving Food Parcels The retreat center offered programs in French and Creole in religious instruction, religious formation, parenting skills, and provided numerous support groups, all from its perch on top of a hill overlooking the city of Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately, not even its hilltop location could protect Villa Manrese from the devastating earthquake that struck southern Haiti this past January. The building collapsed causing seven staff members to lose their lives. However, that was just the beginning of the crisis that the Viatorian Community faced. Immediately following the quake, thousands of Haitians fled to the building’s gardens, which had survived, complete with prolific banana trees. “I think they just felt safer there,” Fr. Francis reflected. "There was no food, no water, no medical attention, or sanitary conditions, just relief from all the danger in the center of the city.” Continued on page 2

The Viatorians in Haiti respond to the tragic earthquake... continued from page 1

Government officials eventually forced these refugees to leave in order to extricate the decomposing bodies from beneath the rubble. Fr. Andre Paul Garraud, CSV, superior of the Foundation of Haiti, estimates that the Viatorians helped more than 17,000 refugees find shelter amidst the aftershocks, as well as food, medical care, and pastoral care. He helped relocate them to separate camps operated by nongovernmental organizations, which had stepped in to provide the food, medicine, tents, and other services. Those who were able returned to their homes. However, the healing process for the people in the Port-au-Prince region continues. In the gardens that surround the now destroyed Villa Manrese are six large tents to

accommodate the therapeutic and educational services spearheaded by the Viatorian Community in Haiti. A staff of psychologists, dance teachers, physical education instructors, civics and ethics teachers, and a list of topical

speakers form the nucleus for a series of therapeutic activities for children and teens between the ages of three and eighteen. The Viatorians also intend to open a communal dining area where these students can receive

The Viatorian Community of Haiti with Guests from the International Community

Associates David and Susan Surprenant talk about their ministry St. George Church, in Bourbonnais, IL, about fifty-five miles south of Chicago, is a small and vibrant faith community of 200 families that carries out a mandate of the Second Vatican Council which encouraged clergy and laity to work and to pray together; such collaborative ministry renders an enriched faith life for both clergy and laity and moves the world to be a place where justice prevails. To Viatorian Associates David and Susan Surprenant, St. George parish is an essential part of their lives. Both were born and raised in this local area and have known Viatorians throughout their lives. Susan works as the parish secretary and bookkeeper and also as lector, Eucharistic minister, and choir member; David serves in various capacities such as the peace and justice coordinator, substitute religious education teacher, lector, and Eucharistic minister.

Susan Surprenant

What characterizes them, and so many other parishioners at St. George, is their commitment to enhancing the parish life in the face of the current priest shortage. While their previous pastor was experiencing failing health, the parish council, of which David is a member, authorized the expenditure to hire a permanent deacon who preached the homilies and served as parish administrator.

The parish community has subscribed to the Viatorian value of international solidarity. After the Viatorian superior general, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, spoke about the need for the Viatorians throughout the world to become more closely united, David read a magazine article about Haiti. Knowing that approximately forty Viatorians live and work there, he contacted the local superior in Haiti asking if they have any pressing needs which the St. George faith community might be able to assist.

The superior responded that the most pressing need was for more classrooms and that each The parish council and Susan worked closely with the nearby pastor, one costs approximately $12,500. Working with the other parishioners, Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, of Maternity BVM Church in Bourbonnais, David launched a three-phase plan. First, he contacted people he knew, IL, to ensure the proper functioning of the parish. Susan reported to presented the situation, and asked if they would like to help. They him at least monthly about day-to-day details and what actions needed caption responded very generously and soon he had almost $3,000. to be taken. Their handling of the minutia of parish administration One advantage of a small town is that news travels very quickly and freed Fr. Pighini to concentrate his efforts on the overall spiritual life soon everyone knew about the need in Haiti and was eager to help. of St. George parish. Shucking Corn at Chunox St. Viator High School


a hot meal. “We have short, medium, and long-term activities planned for all age groups,” Fr. Garraud said. “We are continually meeting with leaders of the neighborhoods that surround our property.” The Foundation of Haiti is operated under the leadership of the Viatorian Province of Canada, led by Fr. Claude Roy, CSV, the provincial of Canada. While he gratefully acknowledges the support from the international Viatorian community, he concedes they are in the process of discernment over whether to rebuild the retreat center. “For the moment, the Viatorians of Haiti have begun a process of reflection about the future of the site of Villa Manrese,” Fr. Roy said. Fr. Garraud agrees and says “the community is starting again from scratch. Considering that 90 percent of the school buildings in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed, the Viatorian education mission is more important than ever.” Yet, there is no doubt the Viatorians are committed to staying in Haiti and ministering to its people. “We would like to thank the general direction of the Viatorians in Rome and Viatorian provinces and foundations for their fundraising and for their solidarity,” Fr. Garraud said. “We continue to count on this solidarity to participate as Viatorians in the rebuilding of Haiti.”

With the enthusiasm rapidly growing, another parishioner organized a committee and hosted a “Dancing with the Stars” evening that yielded $9,000 for the project.

knew a majority of the professed members of the community. They mused that they feel very comfortable with the Viatorians; they are part of an extended family.

David owns a grain and dairy farm. With his expertise and experience, he recently traveled to the Viatorian Foundation of Belize to visit Chunox St. Viator High School. This high school The third phase occurred is an agricultural school, which immediately interested David. last Lent. A local bank He joked that he was supposed to “observe” and that observing David Surprenant with Belizean Students donated small plastic piggy is one thing he does not do. Rather, he is the type of person banks and the campaign was who sees a need, decides what must be done to answer the need, entitled “Feed the Pig for Haiti.” Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, the current and then rolls up his sleeves and gets to work. True to form, he was pastor of St. George, encouraged everyone to sacrifice in some way soon planting Papaya trees and shucking corn. He struck up several and to put the money saved into the bank for Haiti. They issued the conversations with the agricultural teacher at Chunox St. Viator High final check for $16,200. School; they shared farming and agricultural ideas and experiences. David was impressed with the richness of the soil and the temperate During the campaign, the earthquake in Haiti struck. After climate. He noted that the area is ideal for composting and for people consultation, they decided to keep the focus on the classroom because to grow their own fruits and vegetables, creating an environmentallythere was so much aid now going for the immediate needs of food, friendly strategy for ensuring high quality food while containing costs. shelter, and medicine. When Haitian life begins a semblance of normalcy and the media attention has turned to other places, the St. George is a growing and vibrant parish, the result of its many pressing need will be educational facilities for the children. Secondly, active and committed parishioners. David and Susan are grateful an essential aspect of the Viatorian mission is the education of youth. for being part of both their local community and the international Viatorian community. In living out their faith in this small town, The Surprenants recounted their long history with the Viatorians that they also impact the world community, particularly in Haiti and eventually led up to them becoming Viatorian Associates. The Belize. They are implementing the Viatorian mission and charism to Viatorians have been in the area since 1865; two early Viatorians were raise up communities of believers where the faith is lived, deepened, Surprenants; moreover, both David and Susan had Viatorians as their and celebrated. parish ministers and as their teachers. When they went to their first meeting with many Viatorians present, they joked that they already 3

On the second Wednesday of each month, worshippers of all ages arrive at the Viatorian Province Center chapel in Arlington Heights, IL, for a rare spiritual experience — Taize prayer. The worshippers take a single candle and a song sheet and quietly file into the intimate, sacred space, which they find lit only with votive candles.

The room soon brightens as worshippers light their candles and begin to sing the short verses of the hymns. After the second hymn, the worshippers walk solemnly to clay pots filled with sand, located on the altar, and place their candles in these pots while offering silent prayers.

On a recent Wednesday night, the service at the Viatorian Province Center drew students from Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights as well as from St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan, led by their campus ministry director, Jim Dippold. Combined with the many adults on hand, every seat in the chapel was filled. The musicians, playing the keyboard, cello, and flute, and providing vocals, stood overhead in the balcony overlooking the congregation. Erik Elizalde, a junior from Waukegan, said he comes every time St. Martin de Porres offers the thirty mile trip. “For me, it is a very joyful experience, very calming,” Erik said. “It brings God closer to you, through the music and the chanting. It’s a whole new way of experiencing prayer.”

The Scripture Being Proclaimed

Fr. Francis White, CSV, with Students

His classmate, Maritza Tejeda, agreed, though she described it more as a time to release all of the stresses of everyday life and let the prayer service take over. “You just sit back and listen and hear your own thoughts,” Maritza said. “You listen to the lyrics, and think, maybe God is talking to me.” That’s just what Br. John Eustice, CSV, encouraged worshippers to do at the beginning of the service. “Let the songs wash over you. Be comfortable in your prayer. It’s a time for music, for being reflective, and for letting the power of the resurrection sink in.”

Quiet Reflection One of the service’s highlights follows with a “Litany for Young People” as those in the gathering pray for teens facing a range of problems: severe emotional stresses, substance abuse, and even suicide. Each 4

situation receives a prayerful response from those in attendance. A prolonged period of silence follows. Julie Worch, a lay missionary with the Redemptorists in Glenview, IL, makes the trip to Arlington Heights every month to participate in Taize prayer. “It’s the best one in the Chicago area,” she says. “I love the music and repeating the same chants. When you add the Viatorian spirituality and their prayers for young people, it’s really meaningful.” The Viatorians began offering the Taize prayer service eleven years ago as a means of reaching out to youth; over the years, it has grown in size and expanded its mission. Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, who inaugurated the Taize prayer experience within the Viatorian Community, is delighted that it has taken on a life of its own. “Those who come, without exception, tell me that they find a remarkable peace during the evening,” Fr. Brost said. “It’s a wonderful way to connect with God. The music and the ritual seem to open people up so that they experience God’s loving and peaceful presence.” The origins of this ecumenical prayer service dates back to 1940 in France; Br. Roger Schutz started it as an outgrowth of his silent retreat. The unique, prayerful experience continues to draw thousands of young people to the Taize Community in France each year for prayer, for study, and for faith-sharing. The Viatorians are grateful to be able to open their home to so many who find the prayer meaningful and beneficial. “It’s wonderful to have young people come and pray with us,” said Fr. Frank White, CSV, age 92, who looks forward to the monthly Taize prayer service at the Viatorian Province Center.

Fr. Victor E.“Gene” Bertrand, CSV With the death of Fr. Victor Eugene “Gene” Bertrand, CSV, the Viatorian Community lost a member who spent over twenty-five years serving the military personnel as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. Fr. Bertrand died on January 14th, 2010, at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, IL, less than one week after he moved there from North Little Rock, AK. He was 75. Over his long military career, Fr. Bertrand achieved the rank of Commander in the Chaplain Corps of the United States Navy; moreover, he received two gold stars — the Humanitarian Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. “He really lived the saying, ‘Join the Navy and see the world,’ ” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, Provincial, who had studied under Fr. Bertrand as a senior at Griffin High School in Springfield, IL. Fr. Bertrand’s military assignments included active service at naval bases in California, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, remote duty stations in Diego Garcia, Guam, Okinawa, and aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Midway in Japan. “These are, indeed, floating cities,” remarked Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, a former military chaplain himself, who served in the United States Marines Corps. “He would have been responsible for taking care of about 5,800 sailors and Marines.” One of his assignments took him to Rome where he served as Command Chaplain for NATO. The role was more administrative than ministerial, but it did involve introducing military dignitaries to Pope John Paul II, a job he cherished. Fr. Bertrand’s family members pointed to his willingness to serve in Diego Garcia,

the U.S. Navy’s most remote duty station; it is located 1,000 miles south of the tip of India in the Indian Ocean. “There he was responsible for about 8,000 service men and women from all four branches of the service, as well as several thousand civilian contractors for the Defense Department,” Fr. Hall remarked. “Naturally, given the remoteness of the island, there is a lot of counseling that takes place.” Fr. Bertrand brought a counseling background to his ministry. He first professed his vows as a Viatorian in 1953 and went on to earn degrees in political science and history from Loyola University, before earning a master’s in guidance and counseling from George Washington University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1962.

Fr. Bertrand’s confreres believe his military service and his ministry to the needs of military personnel posted in faraway places encapsulated and radiated the Viatorian charism from the very core of his being. “He always dreamed of being a chaplain in the military,” Fr. von Behren added. “It was a sense of duty and of serving his country, and of being true to his priesthood and of being a Viatorian.” We will miss him.

Early ministry assignments took him to more traditional settings, teaching at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, and Griffin High School in Springfield. “He was a people’s priest,” said his brother, Joe, of Springfield, IL. “He always kept a Christmas list a mile long because he kept up with everyone from everyplace he had ever been.” Up until a few months before his death, he ministered to veterans at the VA Medical Center in North Little Rock, AK. He also eagerly celebrated Mass and administered the sacraments when needed in the Diocese of Little Rock. “He was very generous in helping out,” said Bishop J. Peter Sartain, former Bishop of Little Rock, who now leads the Diocese of Joliet, IL. “He was very kind and always interested in the broader needs of the church.”

Pope John Paul II Welcoming Fr. Bertrand

Receiving the American Flag

A people’s priest 5

Viatorian presence in Colombia and Belize increases The Viatorian mission of empowering young people to become active members of their faith communities continues to be a powerful attraction for men considering the call to religious life. For example, in the Foundation of Colombia, which has been part of the Province of Chicago for nearly fifty years, two more members made their first vows as religious brothers. In both cases, they cited the Viatorian ministry with the young as part of their calling. Br. Carlos Eduardo Diaz, CSV, a psychology student at Konrad Lorenz University in Bogotá, and Br. Carlos Arturo Romero, CSV, a teacher at Colegio San Viator, made their first profession of vows on January 16th, before Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV, Provincial, at which Fr. Luis Eduardo Lopez, CSV, superior of the foundation, presided. The ceremony took place during a special Mass in the chapel at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. Fr. Marcelo Lamas, CSV, novitiate director in Santiago, Chile, preached the homily. “The Viatorian Community and its ministry to youth and parish work is what drew me,” says Br. Diaz, who assists as a youth minister at San Juan Maria Vianney parish, when he is not studying. “When I graduate, I would like to lend my professional services as a psychologist at our school,” he adds. “I can see myself, perhaps, continuing my studies for the priesthood.”

community whose ministry was related to social work,” Br. Romero says. “I began to feel that the Lord was calling me toward the Viatorians, whose principal ministry is education because education can contribute greatly to social transformation.”

Front Row (L to R) Jorge Romero, Vanessa Romero, Gregorio Itzab, Leonor Itzab. Br. Carlos Arturo Romero, CSV

Br. Carlos Eduardo Diaz, CSV, and Br. Carlos Arturo Romero, CSV

Back Row (L to R) Guillermo Pech, Roxana Pech, Marceli Tzul, Gabriel Lizama, Dorothy Lopez Gregorio and Leonor Itzab volunteer actively at Santa Rita Church, one of twenty-three parishes that the Viatorians minister to from their base at St. Francis Xavier Church in Corozal Town, Belize. They made their first commitments as Viatorian associates for a period of two years, during a Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church in March. “I hope to grow in my love for God, through prayer and daily living, and to help the neediest,” Leonor Itzab says. Another new Viatorian associate, Gabriel Lizama, is a musician at St. Francis Xavier Church. He hopes to become a deacon and “get others more involved in the vineyard of Jesus Christ, because the harvest is large, but the helpers are few.”

His confrere, Br. Romero, cites his education under the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna and seeing their witness to Christ, as having made a powerful impact on him. His search for a religious community of men who would welcome him culminated with the Viatorians. “My great dream was to commit myself to a

Furthermore, the Viatorians of the Foundation of Belize also continue to grow in numbers. This year they welcomed nine new associates — four men and five women.

Br. Carlos Eduardo Diaz, CSV 6

Dorothy Lopez, also a new Belizean Viatorian associate, already serves as a teacher, Eucharistic minister, and as a member of the liturgy committee, but she saw joining the Viatorians as a way to deepen her faith. “I want to follow in the footsteps of Fr. Louis Querbes,” she says, “whole heartedly and without fear.”

In addition to being teachers, Guillermo and Roxana Pech serve as music ministers at St. Francis Xavier parish. Both cited Fr. Louis Querbes and his mission of raising up faith communities as the stimulus for their calling to become Viatorian associates. Likewise, the new Belizean Viatorian associates Jorge and Vanessa Romero play active roles at St. Francis Xavier parish. Jorge serves as a lector and helps to plan liturgies, while Vanessa serves as office manager, working alongside the professed Viatorians. “I have been living among them and seeing their work,” Vanessa Romero says. “I accepted their invitation to join them so that I can now grow in ministry among them.” Another new Viatorian associate, Marceli Tzul, is a teacher at one of the twenty schools in Corozal District where Viatorians minister in Belize. She wants to be able to take her faith beyond the classroom, she says, and to minister to the youth and to the needy in the area as a visible and tangible member of the Viatorian Community. As long as there are people open to following in the footsteps of Fr. Louis Querbes, the founder of the Viatorians, the Viatorian Community will continue to flourish both home and abroad.

sense of community

The Viatorian Vocation Team continues its

OUTREACH to young people The Clerics of St. Viator Vocation Team of the Province of Chicago continues to work energetically and enthusiastically on its many initiatives. The webpage of the vocation team,, now includes video interviews of several selected Viatorians. The vocation team continues to prepare for the first Viatorian Youth Congress to be held at Techny, IL, from August 2nd to August 5th, 2010. The congress will offer young people from Viatorian schools and parishes an opportunity to discover how they can help further the Viatorian mission. The Viatorian Community at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL, continues to offer “Come and See” evenings for young men throughout the school year. This program, now in its third year, offers young men the opportunity to share a meal, prayer, and conversation with Viatorian brothers and priests. Viatorian associates and religious offered “My Life Choices: What Is Christ Calling Me to Do with My Life?”– a vocation awareness evening for high school men and women; this event was sponsored by and was held at Maternity BVM parish in Bourbonnais, IL. Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor of Maternity BVM parish, served as the facilitator of this vocation awareness evening. Speakers included Mr. Kirk Andreina, Marc and Kris Fisher, Sister Janet Lawrence, CND, and Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV. About sixty young people attended the event which is held annually on “World Day For Vocations.” The young people were encouraged to build up the church and bring God’s love to the world in whatever way God calls them to respond. The Viatorian Provincial Council has approved the opening of a house of discernment. This new house of discernment, named Viator House, will open in late August, within the rectory of Saint Viator parish, in Chicago, IL. Viator House will be a community for young men, between the ages of 18-40, who are discerning a call to Viatorian religious life, while not excluding other vocational options, such as marriage, the single life, or the diocesan priesthood. Candidates for the discernment community will be encouraged to become active and engaged members of the community at Viator House and will be provided opportunities in a variety of venues for ministry. Men who are interested in this opportunity are asked to contact Br. Daniel Lydon, CSV, at 847-637-2129 or at Our team of twelve vocation ministers continues to find new ways to help young people hear the voice of God in their lives.


Five Viatorians recently celebrated their ordination anniversaries Fr. Donald J. Fitzsimmons, CSV, attended Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield, IL. and entered the Viatorian Community in 1950 along with several of his classmates. At Loyola University, Chicago, Fr. Fitzsimmons earned a B.A. degree in history and philosophy in 1955. He was ordained a priest on May 28, 1960 and later earned a M.A. degree in religious education at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1969. He spent the majority of his fifty years as a priest as a high school teacher and substance abuse counselor. His wit and wisdom made him a good communicator with young people. For eighteen years, he served the students of Saint Viator High School, in Arlington Heights, IL, as counselor, teacher of religion, and retreat director. From 1988 to 1997, he served as a drug abuse counselor at Lutheran General Recovery Center in Vernon Hills, IL. From 1998 until his retirement, he worked in the Keys to Recovery Program as a substance abuse counselor at Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines, IL. When Fr. Fitzsimmons finds a new area of special interest, he becomes seriously involved in that subject. As a teenager, his free time was given to a basement full of aquariums for his collection of fish. For several years during the 1970’s, photography consumed his time when he was not teaching or counseling. What started as hobby became a thorough study of the topic, and he became an artist who not only created beautiful compositions, but also one who operated his own darkroom. When the world became concerned about the

environment, Fr. Fitzsimmons became an expert on the topic of native grasslands in Illinois. In recent times, he taught himself everything one needs to know, and more, about computer technology.

Fr. Thomas G. Langenfeld, CSV, began exercising his leadership skills early in his Viatorian career. After completing his novitiate, he attended Loyola University, Chicago, where he earned a B.A. degree in political science. After his ordination to priesthood in 1960, Fr. Langenfeld served as a high school teacher and administrator for ten years. He taught and was assistant principal at Spalding Institute in Peoria, IL, was assistant principal at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, and served as principal at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, IL. It did not shock anyone when he was elected superior general of the Clerics of St.Viator in 1972. He moved to Rome where he led the international Viatorian Community until 1984. During those years, he traveled the world using his talents in leadership and communication. When he returned from Rome, he spent a sabbatical year at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. Between 1986 and 1999, Fr. Langenfeld served as pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Kankakee, St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, and St. Viator parish in Las Vegas. Since then, he has continued to serve in the Diocese of Las Vegas. Fr. Langenfeld recently stated, “I sit in amazement and surprise when I look back over fifty years. When ordained, I simply 8

wanted to have a life of helping young people become successful with their lives. My life has taken me to many different places. As I look back, I wonder how much my goal was achieved. It is difficult to look beyond failures to see successes, but I know there were some of both. And I do know that I have had a majority of happy times. I indeed have reason to celebrate!” Fr. James E. Michaletz, CSV, feels he has been blessed abundantly. “When I reflect on my fifty years as a priest, my initial and overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude for being a Viatorian and a priest, but also for the many grace-filled experiences I have had. I am fortunate to have been in Catholic education for so many years and in a variety of capacities. I have had the opportunity to minister to people in a variety of ways that have been so rewarding. I am especially grateful to God for being blessed and graced in countless ways.” Known for his leadership skills and his ability to enhance the administrative talent of principals and board members of Catholic institutions, Fr. Michaletz earned a Ph.D. degree in educational administration from Loyola University, Chicago. His dissertation focuses on the topic of leadership. Since the early 1970’s, that topic has kept him busy and focused in his work as an administrator and consultant to many educators, schools, and dioceses. He served as director of the Educational Planning Department for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and was director of education for the Province of Chicago of the Viatorian Community from 1977 to 1983. In 1985,

he was named Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Springfield, IL, and in 1991, he became a member of the staff of the Education Department of Dominican University in River Forest, IL, where he served until 1999. At Dominican, he devoted all his efforts to the education and formation of Catholic and public school principals. One of the many boards on which he has served over the years is the Board of Trustees of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. In recent years, he has been an active priest in residence at Maternity BVM in Bourbonnais and has added board membership at St. Mary’s Provena Hospital to his list of activities.

Fr. Daniel J. Mirabelli, CSV, has spent most of his fifty years as a priest serving the Alleman High School community in Rock Island, IL. He has become known as the persona of the school where he has worked for forty-four years as a teacher of history and religion, and as athletic director. He currently works in the office for development. Fr. Mirabelli is well-known as a well-organized, neat, and a reserved gentleman. It is only when he is watching or listening to his favorite athletic team or sports hero that his wild side shows. Just as he is a devoted and hard worker, he is a devoted fan. Fr. Mirabelli attended Fenwick High School in Chicago, IL, where he came to know the

Viatorians. After completing his novitiate, he attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA, where he earned a B.A. degree in history. He later earned an M.A. degree in American history from Loyola University, Chicago. On May 28, 1960, he was ordained to the priesthood. His first teaching assignment was at St. Benedict High School in Chicago, IL, for a year followed by five years at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights. In 1966, he was assigned to Alleman High School. As he reflects on his years as a priest, he says, “At this time of remembering, I smile and think fondly of the countless Viatorians who served with me throughout these many years of service to the Catholic Church. The Viatorians are men of class and they have truly enriched my life and my vocation. I have been most blessed and very proud to be a member of this community which is dedicated to service, education, and pastoral care. God is good and has blessed me abundantly throughout my vocation as a Viatorian priest.”

Fr. Richard J. Pighini, CSV, who celebrates his twenty-fifth anniversary of ordination this year, hails from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He studied at the University of Illinois in Chicago, the University of Oregon at Eugene, and he spent a year as a member of the Peace

Corps in Hawaii before becoming a teacher at St. Patrick School in Kankakee, IL. From there he entered the Viatorian Community in 1980. His years of preparation for ordination were completed at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago; he was ordained a priest in 1985. During his years on the faculty at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield between 1985 and 1989, he began to develop his reputation as prize winning gardener. That reputation followed him to Kankakee and to Bourbonnais. At each place his hobby became an art. In 1989, Fr. Pighini returned to St. Patrick parish as a parochial vicar before becoming pastor in 1994. In 2004, he was named pastor of Maternity BVM parish, the first Viatorian parish in the United States, a ministry in which he continues today. During these past several years, he became known as a master at creating the artistic and reverent environment for the liturgical celebrations. The original manual of instructions for the Viatorians states that a Cleric of St. Viator dedicates his life to the "teaching of Christian Doctrine and service of the holy altar." Fr. Pighini follows that old dictum, literally. The parishioners at St. Patrick and Maternity BVM parishes can testify that the decorations are always perfect, that the liturgical ministers are well prepared, and that the altar servers are trained to perfection.

We are Viatorians 9

In the Footsteps of Our Founder... Indecision by the Sacred Congregation Father Louis Querbes was informed that the Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops and Regulars would convene in Plenary Meeting on August 3, 1838, to consider his petition on behalf of the Clerics of St. Viator. Cardinal Angelo Mai, the ponent (reporter) of the Sacred Congregation, outlined for the other Cardinals these salient issues: the ends of the Society, the endorsement of the Archbishop of Lyons, the Royal Charter, the property owned, the presence of the Founder in Rome, the revised statutes, the Summarium and the votum of their Consultor, Fr. Rosaven. The agenda for the Plenary Meeting involved three key questions: (1) Were the statutes of the Clerics of St. Viator worthy of being approved? (2) Would it be good to allow the rector of different houses the faculty of delivering dimissorial letters for the ordination of their clerics?

Heavenly and gracious Father, be forever blest for your gift in Fr. Louis Querbes, dedicated Pastor in the education of youth, and in the service of sacred liturgy, and Founder of the Viatorian Community.

(3) Would it be good to give the same rector the faculty of appointing ordinary confessors for their subjects, provided that they were approved by the bishops?” (Pierre Robert, Life of Louis Mary Querbes, 172 – 173) In answer to the first question, the Sacred Congregation Plenary Meeting was ambivalent: “While approving the end and the means adopted for the good work to which the Catechists of St. Viator devoted themselves, it did not think it should make a decision.” (Robert 173) Fr. Querbes was devastated. He was beaten but not defeated. Querbes was quoted to have observed “the postponement of a decision is not a refusal.” (Robert 173). The Sacred Congregation praised the ends of the Society, its organization, life, spirit, and its rules. Without approving question one, questions two and three were moot. The Jesuits encouraged him to be prayerful, patient, but persistent. The problem for the Congregation appeared to be one of protocol. The Statutes presented to Rome bore the endorsement of the Archbishop of Lyons. The revisions of Fr. Rosavan removed the Parochial Clerics from the Archbishop’s jurisdiction. The Congregation believed it should not agree without consulting and receiving the consent of the Archbishop. Cardinal Angelo Mai worried how Archbishop de Pins would react if the Congregation would approve the petition. The Cardinal Prefect advised Fr. Querbes to write the Archbishop. Fr. Querbes had no choice but to write Archbishop de Pins and request him to release his control over the Society. He did so on August 6, 1838. The request was very delicate and the Archbishop’s response unpredictable. Leo V. Ryan, CSV


The Mission Advancement Advisory Council explores the statement


I am a Viatorian was the over-arching theme of the recent Mission Advancement Advisory Council (MAAC) meeting held on April 16th at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, IL. The title apparently has taken on a life of its own — beyond members of the Viatorian Community — as their partners in mission, former students, parishioners, and friends all state their connection with the Viatorian charism and they state it enthusiastically and proudly.

many people feel a strong tie to the Viatorian Community, the suggestion was endorsed to utilize, in future issues of the newsletter, the theme of I am a Viatorian; such a controlling thesis for the newsletter might solicit stories of how people feel connected to the community. Other issues addressed by this committee included the need to update our prayer card ministry; develop a consistent Viatorian logo; and address the ever-growing social networking opportunities such as Facebook, texting, and Twitter, as ways to reach out to a younger audience.

“On four successive occasions this week, I’ve heard people describe themselves as being Viatorian,” said Br. John Eustice, CSV, at the outset of the meeting. “And it’s all been unsolicited. I think we need to explore this and build on it.”

The Fundraising Committee suggested making it easier for those who wish to donate by using credit cards. The team discussed ways to reach out to the Viatorians partners and continue the efforts started with Partners in Mission. A regular review of how the Viatorians are progressing in building a strong partner relationship was also encouraged.

This was the third meeting of the MAAC; the council includes nearly twenty members, who represent different Viatorian constituencies, including former school parents, representatives of other religious communities, educators, as well as professionals in fundraising, marketing, and communications.

The Service Committee continued its review of the Viatorian Service Corps. It was announced that Mr. John Leahy, a 2005 graduate of Saint Viator High School and a 2009 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, will become a long-term volunteer in the Viatorian Foundation of Belize starting this August. The committee also agreed to a timeline for presenting a comprehensive written proposal both to the Viatorian Provincial Council (August) and to the Viatorian Provincial Chapter (October) for approval to move ahead with the Viatorian Service Corps.

The Mission Advancement Advisory Council met for a full, daylong, series of meetings and sessions. After an opening prayer, Associate Randy Baker presented an update on plans for advancing the mission of the Viatorians. After time for committee work, the three standing committees of MAAC reported back to the full council on the topics they discussed during their respective breakout sessions. The Communication Committee praised the recent updates to the Viatorian website []. They also looked at some options to change the format of the newsletter. Since

Finally, with several projects underway, the MAAC members agreed to stay together and to continue both committee work and semi-annual meetings. 11

Viatorians support immigration reform Saint Anne is located in the midst of many farms where much fruit, vegetables, and flowers are grown and harvested. Some workers have lived in the area for over twenty years, others are recent arrivals, and still others are seasonal migrants. Some residents have progressed to management positions on the farms, and others have their own businesses. Like the history of previous immigrants, they want the best for their children and many are now in college or are college graduates.

St. Anne Church, in Saint Anne, IL, is located approximately seventy miles south of Chicago, in the rural part of Kankakee County. Much of the life of this small, tight-knit community of 1,300 people revolves around this local parish, under the pastorate of Fr. James Fanale, CSV. In describing the parish, Fr. Fanale said that it is continually growing; many of the new parishioners are Latinos, both those who have settled and live in the local area and those who are migrants. The immigrants, with their Latino spirituality and culture, add a unique dimension to the original Franco-American culture of the parish. At the present time, the parish is in the process of blending the two cultures, which takes place as each group welcomes the other and listens to the personal stories of their fellow human beings. The most evident effort at respecting and acknowledging the two cultures is the utilization of English and Spanish. In the religious education program of the parish, approximately half of the students are bilingual; many of their parents, however, are not. To facilitate communication, a bilingual religious education teacher is on hand to interpret and to translate various documents such as letters, forms, and announcements. In the liturgy at St. Anne Church, the readings are often in both languages and ministers are from both ethnicities. The parish also celebrates festivals that are particular to each culture, with the open invitation that all are welcome. For example, December 12th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a significant feast for those of Mexican heritage, and there is always a very special celebration in her honor. On the other hand, for decades, St. Anne parish has celebrated, during the month of July, a novena dedicated to Saint Anne, the mother of Mary. Many come from miles around to join in the celebration. This old Franco-American custom provides an opportunity for the Latinos to learn and appreciate a longstanding custom of the Franco-American culture.

Contractors travel to Texas and Mexico and recruit migrant workers to go north to work in the fields during detasseling season and then to work in the factories to process the crops. Because the workers are vulnerable, they are easy prey for exploitation. For example, the recruiters will promise the workers a certain number of hours at a specified wage, but when the time comes, the hours are often much shorter and the pay is much less. The working conditions are often dangerous and the workers have little or no recourse. For example, a number of workers in a processing factory became sick because of the fumes from a mixture of bleach with other chemicals. They were taken to the hospital and were billed for the whole amount because the 12

company did not provide health insurance. They dared not complain for fear of losing their job or being reported to immigration.

their dreams. The mother was forced, by these circumstances, to move back to the U.S. with the children and, as a single mother, is trying to raise her family.

Their worries were compounded because they did not have workmen’s compensation and, moreover, their housing is often crowded and substandard. These oppressive conditions can have serious negative health consequences on the workers, their spouses, and children.

The parish of St. Anne is where people come together in their needs and sufferings to envision a new reality through prayer and through the experience of sharing in a vibrant and compassionate community. Many of the parishioners are scared because of their tenuous situation and feel the hurt of being scorned and exploited by others. However, at St. Anne, everyone is welcomed and, as a community, everyone strives to reach out to help and to support each other as brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus.

Many live in constant fear of immigration raids which can happen at any time. For example, a group of workers finished their workday, went into a van, and headed back to their residence. On the way, the driver noticed that the gas tank was almost empty and stopped at a gas station. The other workers got out and went into the store. Even though they were not causing any problems, the clerk became frightened at the twelve people being there and called the police. They arrived and demanded that the workers show identification. The majority did not have identification papers, were arrested, detained, and deported. Their “crime” was they wanted to work to support themselves and their families. Another incident involved a local family of husband, wife, and three children. The husband was without papers, and his wife along with their three children were U.S. born. Although he had a steady job as a mechanic and provided for his family, someone decided to report him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). One night, the agents burst into the family’s home, dragged him out, handcuffed him, took him to a detention center, and then deported him to Mexico. The family was devastated – the breadwinner was gone, the family unit was broken, and the children were without a father. The wife and children moved to Mexico to be with him, but the children, having been born and raised in the U.S., could not adapt to the local culture. Furthermore, the only available work opportunities paid extremely low wages which condemned the parents and children to poverty and deprived the children of the opportunity to pursue 13


St. George parish in Bourbonnais, IL, hosted its own version of Dancing with the Stars at the parish hall on February 2nd. The event was part of the parish’s November 2009-April One of the Ruined Classrooms in Haiti 2010 campaign to raise $15,000 to rebuild classrooms at Collège Immaculée-Conception des Gonaïves, a school in Les Gonaïves, Haiti, sponsored by the Viatorians of the Foundation of Haiti. Several classrooms had been severely damaged by hurricanes in the past several years. The project, spearheaded by Associate David Surprenant, was undertaken prior to the January earthquake. Over $16,000 was raised.

Fr. Richard Pighini with Students after Ash Wednesday Service Maternity BVM Catholic School in Bourbonnais, IL, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. An article on the history of the school appears in the January/February 2010 issue of the Diocese of Joliet’s magazine, Christ is our Hope. Fr. James Michaletz, CSV, and Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, are actively involved in the school through board work and teaching, respectively.

Br. Daniel Lydon, CSV, Br. Moises Mesh, CSV, and Br. Jason Nesbit, CSV, attended Ministry with Immigrants Day on February 20th sponsored by Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants. The workshop featured the keynote speaker, Fr. Daniel Groody, CSC, Assistant Professor of Theology at University of Notre Dame, who spoke on issues of migration. Additional presentations provided resources available to immigrants in the Chicago area. Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants is composed of sisters, brothers, and associates of religious communities of men and women in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Its mission is to “advocate for immigrant justice for those who are often the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Congratulations to Br. Fredy Contreras, CSV, Br. Carlos Arturo Romero, CSV, and Br. Daniel Villalobos, CSV, who completed degrees in theology, communications, and social sciences, respectively, last December. All three are currently serving the Church of Colombia by educating youth at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan, IL, earned accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA-CASI) on January 26th. NCA-CASI provides nationally-recognized accreditation for continuous school improvement that is focused on increasing student performance. The Viatorian Community is one of the original endorsing religious congregations of SMdP since it opened its door in 2004. For more information about SMdP, please visit

On February 27th, 2010, Colombian Senator Marco Cortes presented Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia, with a special commendation on the occasion of its 47th anniversary. Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, a 1968 graduate of the colegio and its current principal, accepted the award on behalf of the students, parents, staff, faculty, and administration of the school. At the same ceremony, Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, was awarded a commendation for his commitment and for his work in developing quality education in Colombia. Fr. Vanegas is the academic director of the colegio, which was founded by the Clerics of St. Viator of the Province of Chicago in 1963. Currently,

Approximately eighty parishioners attended a presentation on January 30th at St. Viator parish (Las Vegas) on the subject of human trafficking. Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, pastor of the parish, stated that the social justice ministry at the parish, headed by Sr. Diane Maguire, is committed to highlighting this practice of modern-day slavery in light of the increased human trafficking to large international events, such as the Olympics that were held this past winter in Vancouver, Canada. The Future Group, “a Canadian-based non-governmental organization dedicated to combating human trafficking and the child sex trade,” warned that the Winter Olympics in Vancouver provided the ideal opportunity for human traffickers. Its recent report, Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics, points out the link between international sporting events and an increased demand for prostitution, which often increases human trafficking. For more information, please visit 14

Senator Marco Cortes and Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV

Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, and Senator Marco Cortes


nine Colombian Viatorian brothers and priests serve on the faculty and administration of the colegio, which has an enrollment of 1050 students in its primary and secondary schools. It is one of three major ministries of the Viatorians of the Foundation of Colombia.

mark Jesus’ walk to his execution. Ten contemporary stations, held at five downtown Chicago locations, highlighted local, national, and international injustices calling the participants “to be in solidarity with those who are condemned, Viatorians at the Good Friday Walk for Justice burdened, stripped of dignity, tortured and killed by unjust public policies.” For more information concerning the 8th Day Center for Justice and the Walk for Justice, please visit

At its Annual Detention Ministry Mass on March 13th, the Diocese of Tucson awarded Fr. Donald Huntimer CSV, a certificate of recognition for his ministry to incarcerated men and women and to their families in the diocese. Even though he is retired, Fr. Huntimer keeps himself busy by gardening, painting, and following in the footsteps of Fr. Querbes by reaching out to those who are marginalized by society. Associate Catherine Abrahamian, Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, Br. Daniel Lydon, CSV, and Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, joined over 500 people on March 13th for Saint Viator High School’s 5K Walk/Run. The event, which was part of the school’s Lenten campaign to highlight the issue of hunger in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, raised funds to purchase food for the area’s food pantries. Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, who ran the Little Rock, Arkansas, marathon on March 7th, was too sore to participate; so, he greeted the walkers and runners as they finished the race.

At its April 13th meeting, members of the Viatorian Provincial Chapter elected Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, as a provincial counselor, to fulfill the term made vacant with the sudden death of Fr. William Carpenter, CSV. Fr. Hall served as a wrestling coach and teacher at Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV), Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV as a military chaplain in the United States Marine Corps, and as pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish in Corozal Town, Belize, prior to his current assignment as football coach, teacher, and chair of the History Department at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL.

Several Viatorians gathered in the chapel at the Viatorian Province Center on Holy Thursday to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with His Apostles. Holy Thursday initiates the Easter Triduum that commemorates the passion, death, and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, resurrection of Jesus Christ. Provincial, at Holy Thursday Service Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, in his homily, stated that, during this Holy Thursday liturgy, Fr.Thomas von Behren, CSV, Provincial, would wash the feet of members of the community just as Jesus washed the feet of those at table during the original Last Supper, “to remember whose servant he is.” Fr. Perham reminded those present that “we too are called to wash the feet of others in countless other ways.” To read Fr. Perham’s homily, please visit

Jesus Falls - Good Friday Walk for Justice

Within the past few months, the provincial leadership of the Clerics of St. Viator signed letters to President Barack Obama and to members of the U.S. Congress. The first letter, written by Pax Christi (, called on President Obama “to move our nation beyond indefinite deterrence and embrace elimination as the fundamental posture of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.” The second letter urged the U.S. Congress to fund the National Housing Trust Fund as a way to build and preserve housing for people with the lowest incomes which will help create needed jobs. NHTF, created in 2008, has yet to receive the necessary funding to address the shortage of available housing for low-income families. For more information, please visit A copy of both letters can be viewed at the

The following day, several members of the Chicago/Arlington Heights region participated in 8th Day Center for Justice’s 30th annual Good Friday Walk for Justice. The Walk for Justice is based on the Stations of the Cross which

Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL, sponsored and administered by the Clerics of St. Viator, held its 47th commencement exercises on May 16, 2010. Eleven Viatorian associates, brothers, and priests serve at SVHS in a variety of professional roles. For more information, please visit 15



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


Newsletter – Spring/Summer 2010 Viator is published three times a year by the Office of Mission Advancement for the Clerics of St. Viator, Province of Chicago. Email: Website:

Provincial Perspective The Church in Crisis! Sex abuse scandal spreads beyond Ireland and throughout Europe! The Pope should resign! These are the headlines that we wake up to every week and many American Catholics are once again confronted with feelings of doubt, confusion, anger, embarrassment, and “institutional guilt.” Some are even wondering whether they should stay or leave the Church. As a Catholic and as a priest, I am not immune from these same feelings and questions. As a Viatorian and as provincial, I am often asked by many of you, friends of the community, “what is our response as Viatorians to the present crisis in the Church?” First of all, let me be clear. The following is not a response on behalf of the entire Viatorian Community. And, I am not responding on behalf of the members of the Province of Chicago. Rather, I am responding as an active Catholic, a committed priest, and as a Viatorian who loves the Church and my religious community. When confronted with the weekly, and sometimes daily, headlines identified above, I feel a deep pain and an intense sadness in my heart and in my soul. I hurt for the Church and for those ordinary, faithful Catholics who are trying to live a life of faith and service as good Catholic Christians. I know it is painful and confusing for many of my family members and friends who are trying to remain active, committed Catholics. However, I hurt most of all for the victims of abuse. Those who have been abused must always be our greatest concern. As to those who are wondering why they should stay, my response is simple. While evil and sin exists within the Church, great works are being accomplished. Students are being taught in some of the best schools in the country; Catholic schools where Christian

values are not only found in lesson plans, but lived in the hallways and expressed everyday through service and prayer. Catholic hospitals continue to offer outstanding healthcare, healing the body and spirit, often at no cost to the very poor. Catholic social services and social outreach is an essential support to not only those most in need, but also to those who are in moments of crisis and suffering due to natural disasters and events beyond human control. And countless individuals are nourished by loving and caring priests, religious sisters and brothers, and a committed laity-all in the name of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Yes, we are a sinful Church. We are also a church committed to helping, assisting, praying, teaching, loving, and nurturing our brothers and sisters throughout the world. I stay as a member of the Church because of all the good that it does. I stay because I find Christ present in the “People of God” that we call Church. And, I pray as a member of the Church for the healing that is yet to be realized. The fact that others walk with me as members of this Church is strength for the journey, and the promise of the Lord that we will never be alone is the rock upon which that journey begins and ends. May the Lord see us through these difficult and painful times, and may we become whole and holy once again. In Saint Viator and Fr. Querbes,

Inside Page 2 Associates David and Susan Surprenant talk about their ministry Page 4 Taize Prayer: “Experiencing prayer through music and chant” Page 5 Memoriam: Fr. Victor E. “Gene” Bertrand, CSV Page 6 Viatorian prescence in Colombia and Belize increases Page 7 Viatorian Vocation team continues its outreach to young people Page 8 Five Viatorians recently celebrated their ordination anniversaries Page 10 In the Footsteps of our Founder Page 11 Mission Advancement Advisory Council explores the statement “I AM A VIATORIAN” Page 12 Viatorians support immigration reform Page 14 Viatorians around the province

Rev. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Provincial 2

Viator Newsletter 2010 Spring/Summer  

Vol. 15, No. 2

Viator Newsletter 2010 Spring/Summer  

Vol. 15, No. 2