Volume 16, No. 2
Viatorians Reaffirm Their Ministry Around the World at General Assembly second general assembly of the Viatorian Community. Their tasks included clarifying the foundational elements of the Viatorian charism, as articulated in the Viatorian Charter, and establishing strategies whereby international solidarity among all Viatorians will be strengthened.
Viatorians gather for a plenary session.
The newscasts frequently narrate massive, and sometime catastrophic, events â€” the economic free-fall, 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. living in fear of arrest and deportation, the earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti, the violence in the Ivory Coast, and the recent massive earthquake in Japan. Viatorians affirm that the Gospels challenge us to respond to Br. BenoĂŽt Tremblay of the Province of Canada addresses the assembly. the emotional and physical upheavals of our brothers and our sisters. This evangelical task is especially After much discussion, the delegates formed a pressing since three of the sixteen countries where consensus that Viatorians must continue to employ Viatorians live and work are Haiti, Japan, and the innovative methods to develop vibrant faith Ivory Coast. communities, which often entails taking risks. A central feature of these faith communities is close To respond to these and other concerns in a proactive collaboration between the laity and religious. In the manner, fifty-three Viatorians from five continents past, Viatorians identified themselves as professed recently gathered in BogotĂĄ, Colombia, for the 2
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religious; currently, they identify themselves as professed religious and lay associates who minister together on an equal basis.
parishes within Bogotá. Fifteen professed Colombian Viatorians and 16 Colombian associates collaborate in carrying out the Viatorian mission.
Indeed, this new reality leads to the question — "What is a Viatorian"? The delegates soon concluded that the core Viatorian attributes include equality, unity, and complementarity. These qualities animate the community to positively impact the world and the Church. Of note is that the ethnicity of many Viatorians reflects that of the local community in which Viatorians minister. The delegates described the community as an "ecosystem" whereby members depend upon and assume a responsibility for each other. This reality, in turn, challenges all members of the Viatorian Community to see themselves not only as citizens of their particular countries but also as citizens of the world.
The Colombian Viatorians hosted a very dynamic exchange among the Viatorians from many diverse ethnicities and cultures. All agreed that future exchanges would deepen the international solidarity that everyone was clearly feeling. These exchanges would deepen the awareness that what we do in our respective countries often has a global impact.
Intertwined with the meetings were celebrations of the fiftieth year of Viatorian ministry in Colombia. In 1961, three Viatorians, Frs. James Crilly, CSV, Bert Mayr, CSV, and Thomas Wise, CSV, traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, to begin an educational ministry that was realized in the establishment of Colegio San Viator. What began as a school of 35 students on the outskirts of Bogotá is now a thriving K - 11 school with an enrollment of over 1000 students. Viatorians also conduct two
Additional suggestion included the establishment of an international center in Vourles, France, the Viatorian birthplace, and the establishment of an international development office to help Viatorians who are working in economically challenged areas. This international development office would work with the general direction and with the provinces to clarify the community needs and to coordinate financial development efforts. As one delegate described the assembly as “an unique experience of dedicated, talented people working toward common goals. It was all the more remarkable considering the places around the world from which we came and knowing that all of us did not speak a common language... All of it was terrific!” General Assembly II effected a deeper awareness of Viatorians as a microcosm of the church today — a people of God made up of many different cultures and backgrounds, who share the same faith in God and belief in the Gospels, which call forth a response to bring about the reign of God here on earth. Thomas Long, CSV
The Colombian Viatorians hosted the assembly which included an example of Colombian culture.
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Cathy Abrahamian, A Lay Associate Who Makes Things Happen Last summer, Cathy helped with the first Viatorian Youth Congress, a role she looks forward to repeating again this summer. She also teaches religious education to fifth graders at her parish, St. James Church in Arlington Heights, and she serves as Girl Scout leader for a fifth grade troop, who are working on their religious medal, called “I Live My Faith.” She also works a day job. As the president’s administrative assistant, she provides hospitality to his guests, along with taking dictation, preparing documents, setting up appointments and answering the phones. After a successful retreat, Cathy and the retreatants pose for the camera. Cathy Abrahamian speaks briefly with Fr. William Carpenter, CSV, at the annual memorial service for deceased Viatorians.
During a recent interview, Viatorian Associate Cathy Abrahamian calmly described her decision nearly 10 years ago to become a lay associate — all while handling questions from Saint Viator High School staff members who ducked their heads in for answers. As the administrative assistant to Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, president of the school, Cathy has all the answers — for things going on around the school, that is, and much more. As it turns out, she can speak to the question of why she decided to take her work with the Viatorians one step further, by joining them.
She also serves as secretary to Saint Viator High School’s Board of Trustees and its investment board, and keeps the files on all of the faculty and staff members in the school, as well as its athletic coaches for its 25 interscholastic sports.
“I always wanted to be a priest when I was little,” she said with a laugh. “So, the chance to work with priests and live out my faith was too good to pass up.” She remembers that it was in 2002 that Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, approached her about becoming an associate. “At the time, there weren’t a lot of other associates in the Chicago area — maybe two,” she said. “So the role wasn’t well-defined. “But I believed in the mission of Fr. Querbes,” Cathy added. “I love children and I love the message of Jesus, and I love being able to share that message with children.”
Cathy actively participates in the annual Viatorian assembly.
Viatorian Associate Pat Mahoney stated it was Cathy who convinced him to take the plunge by becoming an associate.
As a result, nearly all of her work in Viatorian ministries includes working with students to help advance their faith formation.
“She is so dedicated and just an incessant worker,” Pat said. “I figured if she could find time to do it, I could.”
Cathy works with the club Students Making Smart Decisions, which is a division of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Last winter they wrapped up their annual toy drive to support the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation, and next month she will lead nearly 100 students as they participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
One year after becoming a Viatorian associate, Cathy’s husband, Don, joined her as an associate, a decision their three children support — Sara, 23, Eric, 19, and Emma, 11. He works in customer service during the day and at night provides security at Saint Viator High School. Consequently, he too, is a familiar face to students and their families, lending a steady presence to the busy comings and goings of a high school — after school hours.
That’s just the start of her work. She is a regular adult speaker at student retreats, including the freshmen retreat where new students are just beginning their faith journey at Saint Viator, and at Kairos retreats for upperclassmen, where they are nearing the end of their high school experience.
“This is not a job for us,” Cathy said. “This is the core of who we are.” Eileen Daday 3
The Viatorian Behind Villa Desiderata Retreat Center faith community that continues to this day. Br. Pat coordinates the Sunday liturgies and is a constant presence every week.
Villa Desiderata Retreat Center
For almost fifty years , Br. Patrick Drohan, CSV, has been working quietly, steadily, and diligently to ensure that Villa Desiderata, a retreat house located near McHenry, IL, runs smoothly. His present ministerial focus is on adult retreat groups, primarily those in 12-step programs, where he has seen thousands of people leave with a firm interior grounding to help them live lives of sobriety and productivity. Br. Pat began his work in 1963 as part of a Viatorian retreat team which offered retreats to Saint Viator High School students. His mentor was the retreat master, the late Fr. Eugene Lutz, CSV, a man known for being firm, caring, with a quick sense of humor, and a very firm handshake. Fr. Lutz's experiences as a marine, and as a POW in Asia during World War II for four and a half years, forged in him an intolerance for self-pity and irresponsibility, a quality that everyone who spoke with him immediately recognized. On the final evening of the senior retreats, people from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) would speak to the students about their personal experiences with alcohol and drug use. For young men being bombarded with the myth that inebriation equals popularity and virility, the discussions would often be lengthy and spirited. When Saint Viator High School ceased sending their seniors offsite for retreats, Fr. Lutz and Br. Pat redirected the ministerial focus of Villa Desiderata. At that time home Masses were very popular and Fr. Lutz and Br. Pat were frequent guests in local homes where Fr. Lutz celebrated prayerful and intimate liturgies. As the numbers of participants became larger, Fr. Lutz and Br. Pat invited them to come to the villa chapel for Sunday Mass, where they did. They established a
Many of the Mass participants were recovering alcoholics. Even though Fr. Lutz was not in recovery, they saw in him a person of integrity who would immediately see through any phoniness. Thus, many sought him out to make an inventory of their past lives, so as to begin anew. While he always listened attentively and empathetically, if he felt that someone was not being completely honest, he would immediately tell the individual to go home, do more work, and then come back. Even though he ruffled some feathers, people knew he was right and respected him for it. Many returned.
ensures the good operation of the villa. He checks to make sure that the supplies are purchased and delivered; the building and grounds are maintained; and while the groups are meeting, they have what they need. With almost fifty years of experience at Villa Desiderata, many people consider Br. Pat a friend and confidant. He continues the Fr. Lutz tradition of not tolerating any sham or self-pity.
Br. Patrick Drohan, CSV, pauses for a moment in his workshop where he works on various projects and talks with people.
A painting of Fr. Eugene Lutz, CSV, and Br. Patrick Drohan, CSV, that honors Br. Drohan’s twenty-fifth anniversary as a Viatorian.
In 1971, a group of men from AA approached Fr Lutz and Br. Pat about having their own retreat, to which they agreed. From this small beginning the present ministry at Villa Desiderata grew to what it is today. From the men’s retreat, the ministry has branched out to hosting retreats for women in AA, adult children of alcoholics, AA couples retreat, and Alanon. Br. Pat says that approximately 90% of the retreats are 12-step retreats. When cancer struck Fr. Lutz, Br. Pat and the local community gladly performed numerous tasks to care for him in his last days—an example of mutual ministry. Br. Pat continues and develops the legacy of Fr. Lutz. In his quiet and gentle manner, he 4
His many years of experience have given him a keen insight into the people who come to the villa. He noted that, unfortunately, the problem of drug and alcohol addiction keeps growing and there is no lack of retreat candidates. Many arrive with only a few hours of sobriety and walk through the doors because their sponsors are bringing them. They are at rock bottom and their future holds either recovery or self-destruction — it’s their choice. Br. Pat said that he is still amazed at the miracles that have occurred. From all appearances, it seemed that there was no hope for many of the retreat candidates; yet, numerous retreatants have emerged clean and sober because of a power greater than themselves to live effective lives where they in turn reach out to others. As Br. Pat celebrates his 48th year at Villa Desiderata, he has seen many people walk through the doors. He knows from experience the value of personal one-on-one ministry that has transformed so many lives. By reaching out to those in recovery, Br. Pat fulfills the Viatorian mission of affirming the value and dignity of every human being, especially those who are accounted of little or no importance by mainstream society. Thomas Long, CSV
Q & A with Steven Dwyer Steven Dwyer is part of a dynamic duo that makes the Life Teen program at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV, sing. He serves as co-director of this program with his wife, Amanda, heading up the youth ministry activities at the bustling parish of 6,000 families which is located 15 miles from Las Vegas, NV.
Q. Tell me about yourself. Did you grow up in the Las Vegas area? A. I was born in New York but
moved with my parents, Steve and Juliann Dwyer, to Las Vegas when I was six. We joined St. Thomas More in 1987, when Mass was being held at the Palm Mortuary. I made my First Communion there and served as an altar boy. When the parish center opened in 1989, my mother started working as the religious education director. I helped her out around the parish, after school.
Yet, it wasn’t until last summer, when he attended the Viatorian Youth Congress that he says he really understood what it meant to be Viatorian. Viator caught up with him last spring to explore those thoughts and to find out just what drives him.
Q. Tell us about Life Teen and what makes it such a big draw. What is it that makes it different from a traditional youth ministry program? A. Life Teen's motto is "Leading Teens Closer To Christ" and we Q. What about your experiences as a teen in the parish. Did they leave really make that our goal in every single thing that we do. In Life an impact on you? Teen, we believe in teaching, and in doing, so we make it fun in order to grab the attention of the teenagers and keep them A. I was a core team leader in our Life Teen program from the time interested and yearning for more. For example, even if we have a movie night, we turn it into an interactive movie night so that we can teach positive messages and relate it back to our faith.
that it began at St. Thomas More in 1998. I felt it was very rewarding being a leader, but I also learned just as much as I taught. I met Amanda at church in 2000. We were both on core team together, and she was also working part time at the church. We were married at St. Thomas More by Fr. Bob Bolser, CSV, on November 8, 2003. The position of director of Life Teen opened up in 2005. Amanda and I waited several months before ever applying, but we felt a strong calling to apply for the position together.
Q. How many teens are we talking about? A. We get an average of about 300 teens each week. Q. Is there any one component that makes the biggest impact? A. Our retreats are a big key to the program. They're great for the
Q. How have the Viatorians influenced your faith formation, both as a teen, and now working along side them? A. Growing up in St. Thomas More, I was aware that we were in a
leaders who get more time for relational ministry and they're good for the teens because they can get away from everything — no phones, internet, or TV — and just slow down, have fun, spend time with God, and share the same morals and faith with their peers. It gives them time to pray, to learn, and to focus on themselves.
Viatorian parish, but I never really knew what that meant. It wasn't until after high school that I started to realize what being a part of the Viatorians was truly about. I gained a much better understanding of who the Viatorians are, last summer, after spending time at the Viatorian Youth Conference. I was able to see firsthand the community to which we belong, and just how much they value lay involvement, how much they value young people by giving them their start in leadership roles.
Q. What do teens remember most about Life Teen? A. I’d have to say it’s our special, five-day retreat called LIGHT or
Living in God’s House Together. It is a work retreat where teens from the parish go into the community and do service such as landscaping, painting, feeding the homeless, and general clean-up jobs. The retreat takes place in the summer and if you have never experienced a Las Vegas summer, well, it's VERY hot. It's not uncommon to be at 115 degrees. For 100 teens to give up a week of their summer vacation to do service work in that heat, we find incredibly humbling. The teens often say this is the most memorable experience they have in their high school days!
Q. How have the Viatorians impacted your work with Life Teen? A. Our priests at St. Thomas More are great. Despite their busy
schedules, they're always willing to give their time to be available to teens, or help us out with retreats and Life Nights. They also do a great job with making our Life Teen Mass very welcoming and focused on the teens. I know for a fact, our teens feel very appreciative of our Viatorian priests and the program.
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In Memoriam – Fr. John Puisis, CSV Fr. Puisis spent much of his career as a teacher, including two sessions at Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield, IL, as well as at St. James Trade School in Athens, IL, and at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL. For a short time, he served as assistant novice master before accepting his most ambitious assignment — to teach English at a private high school in Kyoto, Japan. This city later would become a leading academic center with more than 35 universities, but at the time Fr. Puisis arrived, it was still recovering from World War II. An initial group of five Viatorians established St. Viator Kitashirakawa Church, starting with a chapel and some small rooms; by 1953, they undertook building a two-story church, complete with meeting rooms on the bottom and an upstairs chapel. It was there that Fr. Puisis also assisted with various ministries, along with his teaching responsibilities, after he had arrived in 1952.
Fr. John Puisis, CSV, teaching class at St. Viator Rakusei Senior High School in Kyoto, Japan.
At first glance, Fr. John Puisis, CSV, who grew up in a Lithuanian family on Chicago’s south side, would have little in common with a private high school located half a world away in central Japan. But their worlds collided in 1952 when Fr. John accepted an assignment to St. Viator Rakusei Senior High School in Kyoto, Japan. While the Viatorians had been there for only four years, it was seven years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“He had that missionary spirit of wanting to share the faith,” said Fr. Francis White, CSV, who was at the Japanese school when Fr. Puisis arrived. Although few of the school families were Catholic, they appreciated the high quality teaching methods of the Viatorians. “They welcomed us warmly,” Fr. White added. “They wanted a good education for their children. There was so much emphasis on getting into university; they wanted the best for their children.” Fr. Puisis spent 14 years at the school, which later was named St. Viator Rakusei Senior High School. It continues to thrive today and is considered to be one of the top 20 private schools in Japan.
“He was among a small group of Viatorians going into mission work,” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, Provincial. “It’s not part of our tradition. He was one of the original ones.”
Upon returning to the United States, Fr. Puisis served as an associate pastor at St. Patrick parish in Kankakee, IL, before departing for Las Vegas, NV, where the Viatorians are involved in schools and parishes. Between 1968 and 1972, he served at Bishop Gorman High School, while also assisting at Guardian Angel Cathedral, St. Anne Church, and Our Lady of Las Vegas Church.
Fr. Puisis died on Feb. 8th, 2011. He was 93. He had grown up the second of six children in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood during the Great Depression. When his father’s job with the railroad was reduced to three days a week, the family stretched his weekly salary of $11 in order to feed the family. Between their devout faith and ability to do without, they survived.
He returned to the Chicago area and from 1973 to 1981, he served as chaplain at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital while also serving as an associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Elmhurst, IL.
His Viatorian confreres and extended family members alike say Fr. Puisis never lost that simple, frugal lifestyle, and that his needs were few. He lived his vow of poverty all his life. “He was a man who lived very simply, in the spirit of humility,” Fr. von Behren added. “He had a keen sense of what it was to live the vow of poverty. He believed in it and, in that way, he was an inspiration to us all.”
Fr. Puisis returned to Las Vegas, serving for one year as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Las Vegas; then he travelled to Holiday, Florida, where he was an associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church for two years and served in the same capacity at nearby Our Lady of Fatima Church in Inverness, Florida.
Fr. Puisis was one of three siblings in his family to enter religious life. His older sister, Sr. M. Paulisa, SSC, entered the Sisters of St. Casimir, while his younger brother, Fr. Leonard Puisis, now retired, served the Diocese of Miami.
His last year of active ministry was spent as an associate pastor at St. Joseph Church in Springfield, IL, before he retired to the Viatorian Province Center in 1995. He spent the next 12 years visiting the sick members of the community. Br. James Lewnard, CSV, noted that “Fr. Puisis’ later years were focused on the anointing of the sick. He always carried the oils for anointing in his pocket.”
Fr. Puisis attended Quigley Preparatory High School in Chicago and pronounced his first vows as a Viatorian in 1938. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA, before earning a master’s degree in English and American Literature from the University of Illinois. He studied at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, MO, before being ordained in 1945 in Chicago by Bishop William O’Brien.
Due to declining health, Fr. Puisis moved to Addolorata Villa in 2007 where he lived until his death. We will miss him. 6
Fr. Charles Maranto, CSV where he taught Latin and religion until 1968, and later at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, IL, from 1968 to 1970. Viatorian confreres recalled that he then began hospital chaplain ministry in Springfield, first at Memorial Medical Center, from 1973 to 1976, and later at St. John’s Hospital, from 1976 until his retirement in 1992. His ministerial experience extended to parish work, serving as an associate pastor at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, IL, from 1970 to 1973, and later as an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield from 1973 to 1976. Fr. Maranto, with his positive attitude, always had a cheerful word for everyone and was ready to discuss the latest baseball game.
His sister, Sally Monsier of Chicago, says the family grew up behind their father’s shoe repair shop on Chicago’s north side, and attended Saint Viator parish. There, Br. John Koelzer, CSV, worked with young people in the parish, and he made a lasting impression on her brother. “He used to go there every week,” Mrs. Monsier says. “All the kids would go down. He’d show them movies and they’d have popcorn.” She also remembers that Br. Koelzer saw the potential in her brother, and he arranged for Fr. Maranto to attend a local Chicago Catholic high school, St. Mel.
It has been more than 40 years since Fr. Charles Maranto, CSV, taught Latin to high school students, but his impact still lingers. Mr. Nicholas Penning, who was a student of Fr. Maranto from 1962 to 1964 at Griffin High School in Springfield, IL, went on to become an investigative reporter, later a legislative aide to former Illinois Senator Paul Simon in Washington, DC, and now a senior legislative analyst in Washington. He still remembers sitting in Fr. Maranto’s classroom and participating in the various state Latin competitions; he even noted with pride the Latin magazine they read, "Auxilium Latinum." “He was a kind and gentle man, and he was a passionate advocate for Latin,” Nick said. “He motivated you to do well; you wanted to please him.”
Br. Koelzer’s investment paid off. Fr. Maranto pronounced his first vows with the Clerics of Saint Viator in 1943 and his final vows in 1946. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1950 in Joliet, IL, by Bishop McNamara. As a Viatorian, Fr. Maranto earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA, and a master’s degree in Latin from Loyola University of Chicago. He was the first in his family to earn a college and advanced degree, his sister added.
Likewise, Simon Cory was a student in Fr. Maranto’s Latin classes at Griffin High School during those same years. He now works in that same school’s campus ministry department, where he often thinks of the lessons learned from Fr. Maranto. Simon drove several hours from Springfield to Arlington Heights, IL, for the visitation services and funeral of Fr. Maranto.
Fr. Maranto’s retirement years were spent humbly in service, saying Masses at nursing homes and surrounding Northwest suburban Chicago parishes. But he also found time to attend cultural and sporting events, while following his beloved Chicago Cubs. One particular mainstay of his routine was his bowling league. Every Monday, he competed, and he strove mightily, his confreres say, to outscore one of his teammates — a 90-year old woman.
Fr. Maranto passed away on March 18th, 2011, at Addolorata Villa in Wheeling. IL. He was 88 years old. “There was a friendliness about him; he was always in a cheerful mood,” said Fr. Robert Erickson, CSV, who was a student of Fr. Maranto’s in Springfield before teaching with him at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights and later living with him in the Viatorian Province Center.
“At the province center, he was very attentive to other people’s needs, in an extraordinary manner,” said Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV. “He did all kinds of small things that made everyone’s lives easier.” His students and confreres agreed that his life was spent by steadfastly sharing the Catholic faith, Latin scholarship, and in service to others.
Fr. Maranto served as a teacher at Griffin High School from 1950 — the same year he was ordained a priest — until 1964. From there, he was called to serve at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights
We will miss him.
In the Footsteps of Our Founder... Archbishop de Pins Relents and Approves The August 15, 1838, response of Archbishop Gaston de Pins to both Fr. Querbes and Cardinal Sala of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars came with unexpected generosity. The archbishop relented and accepted “all changes and suppressions, all modifications” to the statutes. To Cardinal Sala he added: “If there is … any other point to change, I submit in advance to their change”. For Fr. Querbes this approval “went beyond all his hopes”. (Pierre Robert, From This Root, 176) Time was pressing. The final plenary session of the congregation before recess was September 21, less than a month away. The archbishop’s endorsement energized Fr. Querbes. He immediately arranged the printing of a more complete supplement to his original Summaire. He included his March 5, 1838, petition, the French text of modified statutes, his letters addressed to Pope Gregory XVI and to Archbishop de Pins, the response, and all documents related to the Cause, specifically the modifications. Everything was now prepared. The only remaining detail was confirmation that the project of the Catechists of St. Viator would be on the September Plenary Agenda. Fr. Querbes sent Cardinal Sala a pleading request for a place “on the order for the day”. Querbes added “Oh, if it is only God’s will that all be finished as I come out of retreat”. (Robert 177) Fr. Querbes then began a retreat at the Gesu, the Jesuit Church of Rome.
Gracious God, 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.
His prayers were answered. On September 21, 1838, the Sacred Congregation met, reviewed his petition, and voted affirmatively that “if it pleases our Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI, that the Statutes of the association of the parochial clerics or Catechist of St. Viator be approved ….” In an audience that same day with the Secretary of the Congregation, Pope Gregory approved and confirmed [the statutes] in its entirety and ordered that Apostolic letters of papal approbation be sent in the form of a brief ”. (Preamble to the Apostolic Brief ) Fr. Querbes was informed immediately. On September 22, he wrote the Viatorians in Vourles: “Sing the Te Deum. All is accomplished. The Society has just received its existence … Rejoicing in this success, all that remains is to consider how to become worthy of our beautiful vocation.” (Robert Bonnafous, Louis Querbes 109) Achieving papal approbation so quickly was a rarity in the 19th century. It was almost unknown to receive the definitive approval of a new religious society and its rules within five years of its initial foundation. The papal norm was fifteen or more years. The Pontifical Documents of Approbation (The Apostolic Letters) were signed September 27, 1838. The official publication of the brief would be published later by the Pontifical Chancery. The question which faced Fr. Querbes was whether he should remain in Rome to expedite the publication of the brief or return to Vourles. Some advised waiting to ensure prompt issuance of the brief. Others, “his benefactors, friends, parishioners, his catechists, the interest of his health, and his heart, all called out to him to return to his own”. (Robert 178) What would he decide? Leo V. Ryan, CSV
Viatorians Create a Discernment Community The newest ministry of the Clerics of St. Viator is Viator House, which is located within the rectory of St. Viator Catholic Church on the northwest side of Chicago, IL. Viator House serves as a discernment community for young men who are considering a life of service as a Viatorian religious, but it does not exclude other vocational options, such as marriage, single life, diocesan priesthood, etc.
essential element in this process is getting to know Viatorians and experiencing their lifestyle firsthand. Viator House provides an experience of community life, of daily sharing in the life of several Viatorian religious, as it is lived within a vibrant Viatorian community. A further goal of Viator House is to provide opportunities for faith sharing, for reflection, for in-depth discernment, and for discussions on various aspects of contemporary religious life and ministry in the Catholic Church with members of the local community. Normally, a candidate for Viator House has been in contact with a Viatorian for at least six months. Candidates for residency may be men who are college students or have already graduated and are working in the Chicagoland area. Candidates are responsible for their own financial obligations, contribute financially to the community, and share in household tasks. Viator House residents are encouraged to become involved in some form of ministry within or outside of St. Viator parish. Normally, this ministry experience is in line with the Viatorian charism of teaching, of being educators of the faith, and of animating Christian communities. If, after a year, a resident feels God’s call to enter Viatorian religious life, he can apply to the pre-novitiate program of the community.
Discernment is the effort to determine, in the light of God’s will, what is the best for me now, in the concrete circumstances in which I find myself. How can I best respond to the Lord? Which of the choices before me will bring me to the fullness of life? A noted contemporary theologian on issues which encapsulate religious life, Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, defines discernment as “process of coming to an informed decision before God of what I should do here and now.” Viatorian are looking for candidates who have carefully discerned their suitability to the Viatorian Community before they make an application to join the community. One
This year Viator House has hosted several young men who are discerning God’s call in their lives. Anyone who is interested in learning more about Viator House should contact Br. Dan Lydon, CSV, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 224-595-4070. Daniel Lydon, CSV
Seven Viatorians Celebrate 60 Years of Religious Life
Fr. Robert Cooney, CSV
Fr. Eugene Weitzel, CSV
On February 5, 1951, Frs. Robert Cooney, CSV, and Eugene Weitzel, CSV, pronounced their first vows as Clerics of St. Viator in the novitiate chapel at 6231 Sheridan Road in Chicago, IL. The two had been classmates in the class of 1945 at Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield, IL. In 1950, they entered religious life as Viatorians. Like most Viatorians, they have served in schools and in parishes. During his years as teacher, pastor, and chaplain, Fr. Weitzel wrote several books and articles about various aspects of pastoral ministry, and Fr. Cooney was for several years the guardian of books and articles as the librarian at Saint Viator High School. Frs. Donald Fitzsimmons, CSV, Thomas Langenfeld, CSV, and Donald Wehnert, CSV, were also classmates at Cathedral Boys High School and entered the Viatorian Novitiate in August, 1950, following their graduation that June. After completing their novitiate and pronouncing their first vows on August 15, 1951, all three attended Loyola University of Chicago. After ordination, Fr. Fitzsimmons spent several years as teacher and counselor at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL, before working as an addictions counselor. In his
Fr. Donald Fitzsimmons, CSV
Fr. Thomas Langenfeld CSV
retirement, he solves computer problems for his confreres. Fr. Langenfeld was a teacher and high school administrator for ten years before he was elected superior general of the congregation. During those 12 years as the superior general of the Viatorian Community, he traveled the world visiting Viatorians in many countries. The third classmate from Springfield, Fr Wehnert served his many years as a priest in Viatorian parishes in Illinois and Nevada. His longest number of years in any one parish has been at St. Patrick parish in Kankakee, IL, where he resides today. Fr. Kenneth Yarno, CSV, is a graduate of St. Patrick High School in Kankakee, IL, that was administered by the Viatorians. His pattern of ministry, like most of the Clerics of St. Viator, went from high school teacher to administrator to parish work and pastor. His last assignment before retirement in 2009 was as pastor of St. George parish, not far from where he was raised. Unlike the other six men celebrating 60 years as members of the Viatorian Community, Fr. Donald Huntimer, CSV, did not come from a Viatorian high school but from Madison, South Dakota. His years of ministry to the People of God included
We are Viatorians
Our Mission As Viatorians of the Province of Chicago, we resolve to expand and deepen our prophetic role as a community of associates, brothers, and priests by addressing contemporary social issues. We reaffirm our Gospel-inspired mission to be dedicated educators of faith and to raise up communities of believers who espouse the values of Jesus Christ in our life and work. As Viatorians, we acknowledge and respect
Fr. Donald Wehnert CSV
Fr. Kenneth Yarno, CSV
Fr. Donald Huntimer, CSV
the role of lay men and women in the Church by ministering with them as equal partners. Further, we acknowledge our need
work in adult religious education, campus ministry, and pastoral work. For the last 20 years he was chaplain for the Benedictine Sisters in Tucson, AZ. Last year, Fr. Huntimer was recognized by Bishop Gerald Kicanas for his many years of ministry to those incarcerated in Tuscon, AZ. Fr. Huntimer retired to the province center in April.
to expand beyond our traditional
All seven jubilarians taught at Spalding Institute in Peoria as did many Viatorians in the ‘50s and ‘60’s. For many, Spalding was their first teaching assignment and the one preceding their entrance into seminary studies.
Fr. Langenfeld speaks well for all the jubilarians when he says, “We became part of the Clerics of St. Viator prior to Vatican II, during which time almost everything about Catholicism seemed to be already set. As a result of Vatican II we learned that movement within the Catholic Church was not only possible but was a plus for religious life. Consequently, it was an exciting time. We have lived long enough in post Vatican II to understand the tensions that some feel because of what Vatican II proclaimed, the rejection of Vatican II by some, the struggles of those who believe in Vatican II, and the manipulations that continue. During those same years, religious life has struggled to find its proper role. They have been interesting years, with ups and downs. To say we lived as Viatorians during historical times is an understatement. The struggles continue. I suspect it will take many, many years before the world will see and appreciate what Vatican II tried to incorporate into the Catholic Church.” Donald Houde, CSV
roles in innovative, unique and distinctive ways.
in the spirit of our founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, we minister to and with young people in the Church and are committed to their faith development and active membership in their respective faith communities. As Viatorians, living in a world of cultural diversity, we embrace those who are “accounted of little importance” by some.
How are you a Viatorian Partner? Thank you to all of our partners who continue to support us through prayer and financial gifts. Your generosity enables the Viatorian Mission to be carried out in the United States, Belize and Colombia. Here are some additional responses to our, “Why are you a Viatorian Partner?” We invite you to tell us why you are a Viatorian Partner by going to our website at www.viatorians.com/share. Response samples include: Jim and I know Fr. John Milton through the Arlington Heights Evergreen Group, a small faith community. He has been our moderator. Over the years he has ministered at our family weddings. John has inspired us by untiring dedication to helping others. We admire the Viatorian Partners in Mission and wish to make a donation towards its success. -Jim and Katie Zlogar I attended Saint Viator High School from 1965-1969. I had some of my best teachers at SVHS such as Fr. Leo Weiland, Fr. Eugene O’Neil and Fr. Arnold Perham. My older son was taught by Fr. Thomas Pisors at Sacred Heart Griffin in Springfield. -Conrad Rubinowski When my oldest son attended Bishop Gorman High School in 1995, I met Fr. Corey Brost who presented to me the opportunity of service through Campus Ministry. We made friends with Br. Michael Gosch, Br. Rob Robertson, and Fr. Tom von Behren. We got involved with the Viatorians. My son, Victor, attended BGHS and was an altar server at Guardian Angel Cathedral and my daughter, Andrea, has been an altar server at the Cathedral since 2003. She is now a Eucharistic Minister. Andrea and I would love to visit the Viatorians in Belize and be able to serve. We love the Viatorian mission. We appreciate their presence in our lives. Thank you to the mentioned above, as well as, Fr. James Crilly, Fr. Francis White, Fr. Lawrence Lentz and all the others that have touched our lives. I thank God for the Viatorians. A special thanks to Fr. Corey Brost and Br. Michael Gosch who opened our hearts and made us love the Viatorian mission. -Roberto and Tersa Perea
As a Mission Advancement update, we have added the ability to accept online credit card donations. You can go to our secure website page at www.viatorians.com/support. We are also redesigning our perpetual prayer enrollment, our Mass cards and prayer cards. You will be able to view and order the new cards online July 1, 2011 at www.viatorians.com/prayer. Once again, we cannot thank our partners enough for their support of the Viatorian Mission. Randy Baker
thank you 12
Mission Advancement Our perpetual prayer enrollment, Mass cards and prayer cards provide an opportunity to share in the Viatorian prayer life. Prayer requests are inscribed in a special book and then placed in the chapel at the province center. When Viatorians gather daily in communal prayer, they specifically remember the intentions of their friends and gratefully thank everyone who has so generously supported the Viatorian ministries. To participate in our perpetual prayer enrollment or one of the many other Mass and prayer cards, simply list your intentions in the envelope provided and mail them to us, or you can now request specific cards directly online at viatorians.com/prayers, under the Shared Prayer section.
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The Viatorians greatly appreciate your financial assistance, which helps to sustain our ministries in the United States and overseas. If you would like to assist us, please send your gifts to: Viatorian Office of Mission Advancement 1212 East Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60004 847-637-2142 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 â€œeducating for the future.â€? For wills and bequests: Clerics of St. Viator an Illinois Corporation
Error: In the Winter 2011 issue of Viator, Marine Corps Lance Corporal James Bray Stack was incorrectly identified. We regret the error and once again offer our condolences to the Stack family.
Saint Viator High School Night of the Lion Gala-
The historic grand ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, provided a dramatic setting on April 9th for one of the biggest celebrations in the history of Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL — its 50th anniversary Night of the Lion celebration. Throughout the year, the high school has rejoiced and celebrated with a myriad of special events to observe this 50th anniversary milestone, including an opening Mass in January at which Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of the archdiocese of Chicago, presided.
“They are educators and partners in our faith journey.” School officials said that since 1961, more than 13,000 young men and women have graduated from Saint Viator and Sacred Heart of Mary high schools, and they are making a significant impact on the world around them. One of them is Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, the superior general of the Viatorians. He and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial of the Province of the Chicago Viatorians addressed the crowd. Fr. Francis explained that as the superior general of the international Viatorian community, which is headquarted in Rome, he had to juggle his schedule to attend the celebration. Yet, as a 1971 Saint Viator High School graduate, he said that he felt drawn to the event. “Attending Saint Viator came at a formative time in my life,” Fr. Francis said. “The Viatorians were there, as well as the lay teachers who had an equally positive impact on my life. They gave me a vision of the world that I carry with me today.” He added that the Viatorians operate 18 schools around the world and teach 22,000 students. "Saint Viator High School is one of our flagship schools, and the international community is proud of what they’re doing here, Fr. Francis concluded.”
The dinner dance and auction drew more than 900 people, including 30 Viatorian brothers and priests, who embraced the opportunity to celebrate the history and the achievements of Saint Viator High School and its founders — their own Viatorian Community. Guests gave a standing ovation to the Viatorians, thanking them for their 50 years of providing religious formation and programs of academic excellence to generations of young men and women. “They’ve played a personal role in Saint Viator High School history and in educating our children,” said Mary Maher, SVHS chief development officer.
Gala Celebration 14
Celebrating 50 years of Viatorian Excellence in Education
Saint Viator High School administrators designed the anniversary events around the theme of Sharing the Memories and Shaping the Future. Toward that end, Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, president of Saint Viator High School and a 1969 graduate, announced a $10 million capital campaign designed to boost tuition assistance and upgrade its campus for the next 50 years. Fr. Egan announced with joy that the capital campaign already has $5.75 million in pledges. “This is an important initiative for our future,” Fr. Egan said of the campaign.
Br. Leo Ryan, CSV, said he wouldn’t have missed the chance to attend. He is the last living member of the building committee that designed the school, and he served as its first president, beginning in 1972, with Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, as principal, and Br. Donald Houde, CSV, as assistant principal. “I thought the evening was spectacular,” Br. Ryan said. “I was the oldest of the Viatorians present, and yet it was a thrill for me to be the link from the planning and building, to the triumphal celebration of 50 years of Catholic secondary education in the Northwest suburbs.”
In launching the fundraising effort, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, announced that the Viatorians have made a gift of $3 million to help jump-start the pledges. “We wanted to make a public statement that, as the Viatorian Community, we’ve been here from the beginning and we’re committed to being here for years to come,” he emphasized.
Fr. Michaletz,CSV, who served on the school’s opening faculty, echoed his confrere’s sentiments. “I was here when it opened, so I’m thrilled to be here,” he said. “It’s so good to see what has happened.” Eileen Daday
On hand were many of the school’s early administrators and faculty members, including Fr. James Michaletz, CSV, Br. Leo Ryan, CSV, Br. Donald Houde, CSV, Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, Fr. Robert Erickson, CSV, Fr. John Milton, CSV, Fr. Lawrence Lentz, CSV, Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, Fr. Michael Keliher, CSV, and Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV.
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Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Br. Michael T. Gosch, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde, CSV Fr. Thomas G. Kass, CSV Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV
Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV
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Newsletter â€“ Spring 2011 Viator is published three times a year by the Office of Mission Advancement for the Clerics of St. Viator, Province of Chicago. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.viatorians.com
Provincial Perspective As Americans celebrate this yearâ€™s Independence Day, Viatorians of the Province of Chicago will be boarding planes and packing their cars and traveling to Arlington Heights, Illinois to attend the annual assembly of the Viatorian Community. Each year, we Viatorians from the U.S. and Belize come together to share in community, in prayer, and in discussion that results in strengthening the bonds that unite us as Viatorians.
yearn to hear the Word of God, those accounted of little importance in our world continue to need support and acceptance, communities continue to need assistance in being raised up to celebrate and live out their faith, and our Church continues to call forth dedicated teachers and inspiring preachers.
On July 5th, 6th and 7th, nearly 100 Viatorians will gather at Saint Viator High School to examine our current situation as a religious community in the 21st century. In this process, we will challenge ourselves to be open to the Holy Spirit who continually calls us to transformation and change. This same call of change and transformation is being heard throughout the Church.
During our assembly in July, our challenge as Viatorians will be to seek new ways to make our mission meaningful and alive for those of the 21st century. We will explore and discuss options that will call us to new ways of being, new ways of serving, and new ways of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those we encounter.
Religious community members are deeply aware that religious life today is very different from what it was when they entered their communities/congregations years ago. And we Viatorians certainly know that our Viatorian Community has changed dramatically over the past forty years. We were once a community of only brothers and priests; today, we are a community of vowed religious as well as committed lay men and women sharing as co-equals and co-heirs in the charism of our founder, Father Louis Querbes. And all Viatorians, lay and religious alike, share in the responsibility of continuing the mission of the Viatorian Community for generations to come. This mission, a mission transmitted to us over the ages, remains relevant today. The young continue to
I ask that you join us during our days of assembly through your prayers and personal support. As we seek to transform ourselves to continue the mission of Father Querbes, to explore new ways to be Viatorian, we recognize that we share a long tradition together. May the next generation continue to share this heritage and become part of the Viatorian Community. May God continue to be with you and shower you with many blessings during these summer days. In St. Viator and Fr. Querbes,
Rev. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Provincial 2
Inside Page 2 Viatorians Reaffirm Their Ministry Around the World at General Assembly Page 3 Cathy Abrahamian, A Lay Associate Who Makes Things Happen Page 4 The Viatorian Behind Villa Desiderata Page 5 Q & A with Steven Dwyer Page 6-7 In Memoriam Fr. John Puisis, CSV Fr. Charles Maranto, CSV Page 8 In the Footsteps of our Founder Page 9 Saint Viator House Page 10-11 Seven Viatorians Celebrate 60 Years of Religious Life Page 12-13 How Are You a Viatorian Partner Page 14-15 Night of the Lion