Quarterly Newsletter of the Clerics of St. Viator • Volume 9, Number 1
The Journey of a Viatorian Missionary Padre Brian Cooper, CSV, has a vision much like Father Louis Querbes, the founder of the Viatorians, and has responded to the cries of the poor in Libano, Colombia.
building has a large room which has been converted into a lunch room, a kitchen, a number of smaller multi purpose type rooms and a courtyard for outside activities.
Libano, about a four hour drive from Bogota,` is one of the main coffee growing regions in the verdant mountains of Colombia. But its magnificence is often over shadowed by devastating poverty. Many people have come to Libano to escape the violence of civil war, earthquakes, flooding and worms which have destroyed coffee plants.
The Centro Viatoriano Ministry Team, a group of dedicated volunteers working with Padre Brian, ministers to the barrio families providing them with emergency food baskets, powdered milk for children, a daily lunch program that feeds over Provincial Charles Bolser, CSV, with Br. Gustavo Lopez, CSV, 120 children each weekday, a special treat and Padre Brian Cooper, CSV, in front of the Viatorian Center of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to programs in both parishes preparing children 150 children every Friday afternoon, and for First Communion and Confirmation. educational assistance (tuition and/or school supplies to over 400 children). Recently, the center has purchased an oven
Since January of 2000 many projects have been developed under the direction of Padre Brian to alleviate the suffering of the poor, especially children. Today, most of these projects are coordinated out of the “Centro Viatoriano” (the Viatorian Center) which is located near an area where poor barrio families live. This center is a former two story elementary school which has been leased to Padre Brian for five years at no cost by a St. Vincent de Paul group. The
This ministry team also travels every Sunday with Padre Brian, on a very long, bumpy, jeep ride, to two countryside parishes in the villages of Delicious and Tierradentro. Members of the team serve as lectors, altar servers and musicians in the village liturgies. They are also responsible for the catechesis
and all the needed utensils to bake their own bread. Soon the children will be able to enjoy “homemade” bread with their meals baked by villagers who are unemployed. Bread will also be distributed to poor families and other soup kitchens serving meals to needy children. continued on page 3
Our Mission... In the Gospel of Luke which was read on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, we are confronted with the challenge of John the Baptist to those coming to him seeking salvation.
Fr. Charles G. Bolser, CSV, Provincial
“The crowds asked John the Baptist, “what should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” In modern times, John F. Kennedy paraphrased these teachings in his inaugural speech in 1960 when he said,
“Ask not what your country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your country.” In the Gospel message, Jesus was constantly requiring his disciples to first of all learn through reflection and observation, but then to act – to respond to the call to mission. It was never enough to simply learn – and yet Jesus was called teacher or rabbi. In his teaching, Jesus was preparing his disciples for mission – to serve others. In order to respond to this call, the disciples were first called to understand that God was in all of creation – that God was incarnate in the world – in human flesh. Secondly, the disciples were called to understand that the diversity of creation was in fact somewhat of an optical continued on page 2
Along with your prayers, your financial assistance is greatly needed by the Viatorians to continue our ministries in the United States as well as overseas. If you would like to assist us financially in our ministries, gifts may be sent to: Viatorian Development Office, 1212 East Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, IL 60004 847-398-6805 You may designate where your gifts will be used, or you can trust us to distribute the funds where they are needed most at a particular time. As a non profit and tax exempt organization, the Viatorians are very grateful for your prayers and financial support in “educating for the future.” For Wills and Bequests: Clerics of St. Viator an Illinois Corporation
An annual report that sticks to the roof of your mouth! Fr. Brian Cooper, CSV reports just what your generous donations for the people of Libano have accomplished this year. Past year’s projects include: • 7200 consumed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches • 1210 food packages • 1210 cans of powdered milk • 1240 lunches for children • 600 filled prescriptions • 400 notebooks, pens, 4way test bookmarks distributed to school children • 50 eye exams performed • 50 head washings to clean out lice For a grand total of almost 12,000 (11,960) various ways that you have helped out the people of Libano.
Our Mission... continued from page 1
God to change the world – to eliminate injustice or to feed the hungry or to bring peace to a war torn world. We as the disciples are called to act – with wisdom and compassion. We are called to move beyond passive observing to active participation. This participation calls for us to prepare the way of the Lord through education, reflection and prayer and finally by action based on understanding and discernment of the Voice of God speaking to all of humanity. This is the Gospel that we are called to proclaim by our very lives.
illusion and therefore all of creation was in fact one – unified in the creator, much like colored threads are woven together to create a quilt. In this, each thread brings its own strengths and weaknesses, its own possibilities and limitations to the process of creation. We too, in our very humanity, bring together our own giftedness for the glory of all. We are, each of us, people of contradictions. We are shadow and light, strong and weak, whole and dysfunctional, intelligent and ignorant. We are all in need of nourishment of the body, mind and spirit. In our reflection of our human existence, we come to some understanding of the gifts that reside within us for the sake of the people of God and our call to nourish these gifts.
Jesus tells us that he has the power of God within him and that we have that same power to change the world through love. Jesus reminds us that love is more than words; that love is active and demanding of sacrifice for the sake of the beloved. We are reminded that as the presence of God is found in the stable at Bethlehem, so is it found on the Cross at Cavalry. The message of the Gospel is that by entering into both, we find our salvation and that it is impossible to enter fully into either without love.
Often however, we ignore our own gifts. We choose rather to follow a path that will provide for our own immediate gratification – or for the illusions of social approval or power while ignoring the long term needs of the world. Jesus told his disciples that they were responsible for active participation in the ongoing creation of the world. It is not enough to pray for
This is the message of the Season from Christmas through Easter and it is the message that the Viatorians
St. Boniface Church dedication Baptismal Font, the blessing of the ambo where the scriptures are proclaimed, the anointing of the altar and walls with sacred chrism, the use of incense as a sign of prayer ascending to God, and the lighting of the church.
St. Boniface Church, originally built by the sacrifices of immigrants in 1869, has stood at the most prominent intersection of Edwardsville, Ill. Exterior view of Church for 134 years. After many years of planning, fundraising and construction, the new St. Boniface Church was formally dedicated at a special liturgy on Saturday, Nov. 22. Bishop George J. Lucas, bishop of the Springfield Diocese, presided over the liturgy assisted by Fr. John Corredato, CSV, pastor. Approximately thirty-five other priests (including Viatorian Fathers Charles Bolser, Bob Erickson, Bill Carpenter and Dan Nolan) took part, as well as lay leaders and other representatives of the building project.
The magnificent brick work and the extensive outdoor work is only a hint of the beauty of this new 800-seat church. The construction project included: the remodeled 1869 church, which will be used for the children’s Liturgy of the Word service on Sundays, small weddings and funerals, daily masses and special services; the parish hall; and the beautiful outdoor plaza and the parking lot with the proper lighting and accessibility. “I am confident that our planning efforts and financial support have resulted in a fine solution to preserve our past and prepare for our future, “ said Fr. Corredato. “The expanded church is a testament of this generation for many years to come.”
In an outdoor ceremony, the parish trustees gave the bishop a list of donors, the architect gave the bishop a set of drawings and the construction team gave him the key to the new church. In turn the bishop gave the key to Fr. Corredato, who unlocked the doors and invited all to enter. The ceremony included the blessing of the people and the building with newly blessed water from the
Fr. John Corredato CSV, Bishop George Lucas, Fr. Charles Bolser CSV
are called to proclaim throughout the world. It is our mission to call others to action and to enable them to find within themselves the power and the wisdom to hear God speak and then to act on what they hear. Our mission is also to invite others to join with us in this ministry. We are called to echo the call of Jesus Christ to mission as we are called to actively participate in the preparation of others for this mission. Our special call is first to others to join with us as vowed religious; secondly as associates and volunteers; thirdly to others to support us through their prayers and financial resources. In this way, the entire community responds by sharing the gifts that they are given for the sake of all in the unique ministry developed by Fr. Louis Querbes who listened to the Word of God in his own time and place. Our call today is to listen to the signs of our times and place and respond with faith, hope and love.
The Journey of a Viatorian Missionary... continued from page 1
Working with the Libano Diocesan Heath Ministry, the center will also begin dispensing medicine and medical supplies Padre Brian (center) and children who benefit from the free lunch project each weekday. to the ill and infirmed who do not have immediate access to medical care. This program will be supervised by volunteer nurses. Over the last few years, Padre Brian has also been working with an architect and civil engineers on a housing project for 32 families living in high risk areas. As of September 2003, the project has been waiting for the financial subsidy that the government has promised before they can begin building. This will take some time because the government is very slow. However, many of the families who will live in this housing project are saving whatever pesos they can to help with the building expenses that the government subsidy will not cover. Padre Brian reports that this has given the poor a goal to work towards which will give them more hope and discipline which lends itself to a more positive environment for the children and other family members. Along with your prayers, if you would like to financially help any of these important projects, donations may be mailed to CSV Development Office, 1212 East Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL 60004.
Retired Brother helps laity take over parish ministries To withdraw from business or public life is the definition of retirement, yet does a Viatorian ever retire from a life of serving God? Not really. Officially retired as Director of Administrative Affairs for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Br. Don Houde CSV, is drawn into service of the Lord more than ever as a pastoral assistant of St. Josaphat Parish in Chicago’s DePaul/Sheffield neighborhood.
Brother Houde dresses the alter in preparation for Mass.
This energetic septuagenarian served as a teacher, administrator and advocate for educators most of his religious life. He taught English at Spalding Institute in Peoria, Ill. for nearly ten years, was the principal of St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill. for seven years and worked for the Archdiocese for 19 years. Today, he is out of the classroom, away from a downtown office and works primarily with the lay community of St. Josaphat Parish and school located just a few short Brother Houde acts as an extraordinary blocks away from the Viatorian residence on Belden minister of the Eucharist. Ave. As DePaul University grew, so too has this trendy urban neighborhood. After a very successful fund raising drive for capital improvements, the St. Josaphat Church was completely renovated and rededicated on October 14, 2001. Now with 1200 to 1300 families as its core, Br. Don says that the parish is blessed with a large community of lay volunteers. Involved at St. Josaphat on a daily basis, he now finds himself serving as the director of volunteers, acting as lector or Eucharistic minister when needed, and many times as Mass Coordinator. A prolific wordsmith, Br. Don continues to write articles for the continuing education of the parish. He has also written brochures based on the parish’s needs. He was instrumental in establishing the parish’s first liturgy committee. Today, there are nearly one hundred lay volunteers involved in weekend liturgies. Br. Don recently prepared liturgical ministers for the changes enacted on the first Sunday of Advent, 2003. He especially enjoys being in charge of the art and environment for the liturgies based on the seasons of the Liturgical Calendar. “When we held the rededication of the church two years ago, I was never more relieved,” he explained. “Working in the center of a construction site was the greatest challenge I’ve encountered for liturgy preparation. I spent a nearly a year trying to create a weekend environment suitable for Mass while there was scaffolding everywhere.” He also volunteers as a field advocate for the Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “When people apply for an annulment, there is an elaborate questionnaire process. I’m assigned a case a month. First, I read the responses to all the questions and then write a summary of the marital history. I write that summary in the third person. I interview each petitioner to verify my analysis. After that, I write the petition for the applicant in the first person before sending the case to the tribunal for assignment to a judicial vicar.” The process takes 12 to 14 months before completion. He finds being a field advocate as a satisfying ministry. “It is my experience that petitioners typically find the annulment procedure to be a cleansing, reflective process that brings closure to what has been a very difficult time in the life of the petitioners.” explains Br. Don. His work is far from over.
Viatorian Tradition Around the World Chile: The Ordination of Brother Mario Mansilla in Ovalle: Archbishop Manuel Donoso, of La Serena, ordained Bro. Mario Mansilla Beecher, CSV to the Priesthood. His ordination took place at El Divino Salvador (Divine Savior) Parish in Ovalle city. The Viatorian community and parishioners attended to this special event. He presided at his first Mass where his Viatorian confreres, relatives and parishioners participated at the San Francisco Chapel where he lived most of his life. During his homily, Fr. Gerardo Soto, Provincial Superior, thanked Fr. Mansilla's parents for generously giving their son to the Lord's service. Also, he invited other families to imitate their example.
Belize: This October Maternity B.V.M. Parish, Bourbonnais, Ill., sent thirteen volunteers to the Corozol District of Belize for ten days. Starting October 28th, medical team members spent one day each at seven different sites: Ranchito, San Pedro, San Víctor, Progresso, Sarteneja, Libertad, and San Narciso. While in those locations, the team members saw some 1,300 patients. Ailments ranged from a small child with a runny nose to an adult having health problems serious enough to warrant surgery. Whatever their ailments might have been, those cared for were very appreciative of everything that was done for them by the members of the visiting medical team.
Bishop McNamara High School paid tribute to the Viatorians at their last home football game of the year in November 2003. The Viatorians assumed leadership of (the then called) St. Patrick Parish and High School in 1931. Due to increasing enrollment, a new facility was needed to accommodate the growing number of students in 1954. The Viatorians continued their administration of Bishop McNamara High School until 1981, when they were no longer able to continue their commitment due to the fewer number of available priests and brothers. According to Sharon Jackson, school spokesperson, the order and its charism remains an integral part of the school, and Bishop McNamara still bears the strong influence of the Viatorian spirit to this day.
Patty Wischnowski works among the needy A young single mother is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She’s petrified. Who will raise her children? How can she care for them when she is no longer able to work? What will happen when she’s no longer able to prepare their meals or to tuck them safely into bed at night? Imagine her concerns. Imagine her fears. Three parishioners of Maternity BVM, Bourbonnais, Ill., felt her pain and went into action to help not only her, but as many people as possible among the sick, needy and less fortunate within their community.
A young husband was critically injured in an accident. He left a wife with two small children at home with no source of income and little help. Patty organized a babysitting service for the mother so she could be at the hospital with her husband. They looked into fund raising and discovered that Krispy Kreme Doughnuts had a program to raise money for charities. They sold doughnuts.
Patty Wischnowski, a pastoral minister, along with fellow parishioners Denise Gordon and Doreen Collins began a mission of babysitting, meal preparations, house cleaning and fund raising for the dying woman’s family. That was the beginning of this ministry.
Maternity BVM parish is not in an affluent area, and yet Patty makes sure that there are extra collections throughout the year to tend to the migrant workers that live in this farming community. The generosity of this parish supports the Christmas Giving Tree program with special gifts for many of the seniors in the nursing homes, several resident families of the mobile home court, and Pembroke, a school for autistic children.
Word of their actions soon spread; another family in the parish turned to these compassionate and resourceful women.
“I have to tell you that this community is so wonderful, “ said Patty. “I recently made an announcement at the Sunday Masses that our
food pantry was running low. On Monday morning I couldn’t close the pantry door it was so laden with food!” Patty and this ministry also participate in the Gateway Coalition, which is comprised of churches and parishes in the area that administer to the poor and homeless. Membership in this program gives a wider network of resources to aid the needy. They help with filling out forms for financial aid, budgeting strategies and finding affordable housing and permanent employment. Patty admits that unemployment has become a huge concern at the parish. Patty is working relentlessly to focus in on this problem as winter approaches. If there are immediate solutions, she will be the first to implement them for the parish. Patty and those who minister with her have answered the call of their community’s concerns, problems and fears. They feel their hurt and pain, then act quickly to relieve their suffering.
Continuing Education for Viatorian Ministry After the third year of theological studies, the candidate for priesthood is ordained a transitional deacon and then is assigned to minister in a Viatorian parish from six months to a year. This is the final stage of preparation before ordination to the priesthood. A bishop is the presider at both of these ordinations.
Fr. Dan Nolan, CSV, Vocation Director Our mission as Viatorians is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Gospel and work with Christian communities to live, deepen and celebrate their faith. After professing first vows and serving at least a few years of active ministry experience, our men have sensed the need for further education to successfully engage in our mission. Since the mid 70’s, many Viatorians have received this continuing education by enrolling in a theological studies program, frequently with a view to priesthood, at the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) at Chicago.
Along with the Viatorians, twenty eight other religious communities send students to CTU for theological studies and preparation for ministry. As they pursue their theological studies, Viatorian Brothers Corey, Dan and Doug have and will continue to have very busy schedules. It is certainly appreciated that they have put aside active ministry for the time being to become students again and prepare for their future ministries as Viatorians. We wish them God’s blessings and much success.
Just 15 minutes south of downtown Chicago, CTU is the largest Catholic school of ministry and theology in the United States. It prepares men and women (lay and religious) to serve the church throughout the world. Father Donald Senior C.P., president of CTU, states, “The church is very much alive at CTU and you can sense its vibrant spirit in our classrooms, at our liturgies and at our celebrations.”
St. Martin de Porres High School Update The Clerics of St. Viator are one of five religious organizations sponsoring St. Matin de Porres High School, the first new Catholic high school in 40 years in Waukegan Ill. The coeducational preparatory school will open in August 2004 with 160 freshman and sophomores.
This fall, three Viatorians have enrolled at CTU for theological studies. They are: Brother Corey Brost, CSV, Brother Dan Belanger, CSV, and Brother Doug Hudson, CSV. The brothers reside in one of our largest Viatorian communities at St. Viator Parish in Chicago and commute to CTU each day.
The school has its first president, R.J. McMahon, a distinguished businessman who is a graduate of Boston College and Loyola University’s MBA program. “Our goal,” Mr. McMahon says, “will be to educate the mind, body and spirit of our students. In order to accomplish this, we will take advantage of the inherent strengths of the Cristo Rey model.”
Over the years, most Viatorians attending CTU have been candidates for a Master of Divinity (M. Div.) degree which prepares students for full-time professional ministry. Students seeking ordination to the priesthood as well as those who are not may participate in this program. The M. Div. program consists of classroom learning, guided ministerial experience, structures for integrative reflection and personal/spiritual formation.
Cristo Rey, a successful work-study approach to education, incorporates all the learning opportunities available between the on-the-job education and the classroom education. Its students are primarily underserved children in low economic areas where a Catholic education is cost prohibitive. Over 80 percent of these students attend college. In addition to Mr. McMahon’s position, Katherine Caskey is the new Director of Enrollment. Ms. Caskey served as project coordinator in which she completed the feasibility study and has continued to prepare for the school’s 2004 opening. Ms. Caskey has lived and studied throughout Latin America and is bringing to St. Martin de Porres her management, sales and community organization experience, as well as her bilingual abilities.
After completing the prerequisites for admission (which includes several college level courses in Philosophy and Theology), it usually takes Viatorian candidates, as full time students, four years to complete the course of study required by the Master of Divinity program. During these four years, the students find themselves academically pursuing Biblical Studies (both the Old Testament and New Testament), Doctrinal Studies (courses exploring God, Christ and Church), Historical Studies (the history of specific periods or movements within the church), Ethical Studies (the foundations of moral theology) and Canon Law (the universal laws of the church). Along with these academic studies, candidates also prepare for future ministry by taking courses in Preaching, Spirituality and Pastoral Care and Supervised Ministry, this includes practicums developing ministry skills for worship/liturgy, religious education, counseling, spirituality and social justice.
On December 10, 2003 St. Martin de Porres announced the appointment of Rev. Paul Sims, CR, Ph.D., as its first principal. Fr. Sims, 46, has held leadership roles in Chicago-area Catholic schools for more than a decade. Most recently, he served as dean of students at Archbishop Quigley Prep Seminary for the past three years. A native of Canada, Fr. Sims earned a master of education from DePaul University and a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Chicago. A big boost to the future of the Cristo Rey Network schools throughout the United States is the generous pledge of $18.9 million from the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation and the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation.
Viatorian candidates for ordination to the priesthood receive the minor orders of “lector” and “acolyte” usually in their first two years of study. The order of lector formally bestows the ministry of reading the Sacred Scriptures at liturgy. The order of acolyte formally bestows the ministry of assisting the priest during the celebration of mass and other religious services. The Provincial Superior usually confers these ministries at mass.
If you would like more information about sponsorship, volunteering or staff positions, contact the school at their web site www.smdpwaukegan.org
A judicial vicar’s role in the spirit of reconciliation Father Philip Kendall, CSV, is a Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan., who sincerely hopes that people never require the need of his services. In a long and many times painful process, Fr. Kendall brings back divorced Catholics to the full practice of their faith through a Catholic annulment.
parish level. Screened by parish pastors and approved by the archbishop, these dedicated people have to have their heart in this difficult job. They have to love the people they are serving again all in the spirit of reconciliation. They are not there to judge, but to be compassionate and forgiving.
“We do not destroy a marriage,” says the soft-spoken priest. “We see the applicant after the legal divorce. An annulment is a reconciliation for the applicant with God and the Church.” According to Fr. Kendall, ten percent of the applicants he reviews cannot prove allegations in their petitions and annulments are denied. Another 20 percent back out because the process is psychologically too difficult for them.
Although there are 600 new cases a year, with about 400 cases completed yearly, Fr. Kendall is still a teacher of the faith true to the Viatorian mission. He serves as chaplain for the Provincial House of the Sisters Servants of Mary, a religious order of Hispanic women dedicated to the hospice ministry. Fr. Kendall teaches the young juniors of this order theology, catechism and scripture. “I love to teach and this gives me an opportunity to continue my passion,” he says.
Father Kendall, who celebrates his 50th year as a Viatorian in 2004, works with two other priests who form the tribunal for the diocese. Thirty-five lay advocates perform the initial casework at the
Born in Kansas and raised on the south side of Chicago, Fr. Kendall attended Fournier Institute of Technology for three years where he first met the Viatorians and accepted their mission. He
graduated from Loyola University with a degree in physics. With his engineering and math background, he was a natural to become a physics teacher. He completed his masters from Northwestern University in 1961. But just as he was to become ordained, he was diagnosed with cancer and faced the amputation of his leg to save his life. The Viatorians petitioned Rome for a special dispensation for Fr. Kendall to be ordained a priest because his amputation posed a problem in those days regarding being “able bodied.” After his ordination, the order needed a canonist to teach at Washington Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.; Fr. Kendall went back to Catholic University and received his doctorate in Canon Law in 1970. Fr. Kendall also serves St. Cyril and Methodius Parish as a sacramental minister on the weekends. He says he has more jobs at 71 than he did at 31!
Lay couple devotes their lives to youth ministry Four and a half years ago, youth ministers Michelle and Ken Barrie had a new service project in the works for the teens at St. Patrick Parish and St. Theresa Parish, Kankakee, Ill. They would work at Sacred Heart Mission in Pembroke Township, Ill., one of the poorest rural black communities in the country. Just one hour south of Chicago, this tiny hamlet of 2,780 people exists with only dirt roads, no gas lines, no public transportation, no banks, no supermarkets, no gas stations, no police department, and no pharmacy, but has several churches and liquor stores. Ken explained that in the beginning there was a lot of apprehension sending the teens into this kind of environment where the crime rate is as high as the poverty level. In fact, some parents kept their children from participating. What Ken and Michelle saw was a place that is rich in faith. “People go with what they got. We take the kids there to see how people really struggle in life. The Lord reveals Himself to these kids,” said the 20-year youth ministry veteran. Students spend summers in Pembroke Township bringing meals to poor families, roofing and painting homes and, many times, cleaning and landscaping the area. Ken and Michelle’s devotion to the youth ministry evolved from a Renew Program at St. Pat’s Parish in 1981. The teen group formation started with just seven teens at the first meeting (the seventh teen only agreed to participate because the group met at his house).
All had a pained look and didn’t quite know what to expect. After six weeks, attendance was up to 11; by spring the total rose to 34 students. All agreed they wanted to continue the ministry. Some 20 years later, Ken and Michelle are seeing the fruits of their efforts with lay involvement from young parishioners who now have families of their own. “ We have grandchildren from our original kids,” boasts Ken proudly. Many former students participate in mission trips, painting projects and ministry work within in the parishes. In addition to social functions and liturgy, Ken and Michelle really focus on service projects with one being Casas por Cristo (Homes for Christ) in Juarez, Mexico, just outside of El Paso, Texas. There the students are immersed in abject poverty as they build houses. “Initially, their first experience sticks with them,” said Ken. “They realize the blessings in their life. They begin to rethink their priorities; what they thought was important; what they thought they needed to be happy; what it takes to be successful in life. They see and sense the Lord. They resolve to keep on helping and serving”. Michelle explained that these kids don’t even shower when they are working in Mexico because water is a scarcity. “You don’t hear one complaint,” she said. “Water tankers come into the community, and if the residents have pesos that day, they can buy water to drink, bathe and wash clothes. Every drop is used.”
Closer to home, many of these teens work with the mentally challenged adults at Hunt Terrace, an independent living facility. For 15 years, teens have planned activities for the residents, held Christmas parties, baked cookies and worked on crafts. There is a one-on-one interaction that both the teens and the residents appreciate. Recently, Ken retired from the United States Postal Service and is now working full time as a youth minister for the two parishes. He is opening up the ministry to 7th and 8th graders and is in the process of developing a program especially for them. One new concept is the Son Rise Service for the junior high school students. Everyone present at the school 15 minutes before classes start in the morning will be invited to attend a daily scripture reflection in an atmosphere established for the students. “It will grow,” said Ken. We believe him.
Join the Mission: Viatorian Volunteer Program After completing a year working in the campus ministry office at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, John Eustice was ready to start a new adventure. This young adult was off to Belize, Central America, as a Viatorian Volunteer for an action filled year living with and working alongside the Viatorians. In September 2002, John arrived at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Corozal Town joining the pastoral team with Viatorian Fathers Chris Glancy, John Peeters and Pre-novice Moises Mesh. After returning to the United States, John reports, “The main area I was involved in at St. Francis Xavier Parish was youth ministry.” He would meet weekly with the young people for several different activities: faith sharing, service projects and social activities led the list. The youth group along with John was also responsible for planning the Sunday evening liturgy.
One of the highlights of John’s year of ministry was the National Catholic Youth Jamboree. John coordinated this very successful youth ministry event where hundreds of teens gathered from all over Belize. Reflecting on his experience, John found that being away from his own culture gave him an opportunity to immerse himself in a new culture where he discovered many similarities and differences. He witnessed a community of people strong in their faith and whose lives are centered around the church. “I have never been in a place where people actively live out their faith for the entire town or village to see,” John shared. He observed people participating in processions through the streets of the town. To commemorate Good Friday and to seek the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession for protection from hurricanes are two examples. John learned
John Eustice working with two youth group members preparing a Sunday Liturgy
that there are many ways to celebrate being Catholic but the Church is truly universal. This volunteer experience strengthened John’s own spirituality as he was moved by the people to whom he was ministering. continued on back page
Diversity is the strength of Chicago’s St.Viator Parish As the #152 bus rolls east on Addison Street towards Wrigley Field, it quickly passes the graystone structures of St. Viator Church and School. In the warm autumn sun, a gym class plays a friendly game of kick ball in the school lot. While inside the rectory, the pastor, Father Robert (Mick) Egan, CSV, reflects on some of the opportunities he and this 115-year-old Chicago parish face in the future. St. Viator parish is in the midst of urban gentrification with some neighborhood homes being renovated for nearly a half million dollars. In other sections of the parish, the neighborhoods are becoming the land of opportunity for Hispanics and some eastern Europeans. Yet, the backbone of this community is still the working middle-class. Coupled with that economic and social diversity, St. Viator School, along with every Catholic school in Chicago, struggles with a declining enrollment and rising operating costs. “I’m not worried about this parish,” smiles the optimistic Fr. Egan. “I look at our situation as an opportunity; it’s a blessing that the make up of this parish is so diverse. It gives us a chance to practice tolerance and to live and practice our faith in a community that reflects the diversity of the Church of Chicago.” There is already a Sunday Mass celebrated in Spanish for the over 20% Hispanic members of the parish. Fr. Egan became the pastor of St. Viator in August 2002 just as the school was celebrating
100 years of Catholic education. Today, the question is: how do we provide a Catholic education for all members of the parish, including need-based assistance? And how do we, as a community, provide for our financial needs through the stewardship of our gift giving? This past year, Fr. Egan has worked with the school board to establish objectives to reach goals for the upcoming years. “Our school board has the leadership to reach out to the community and let them know that we want everyone to come to St. Viator School. Our message is St. Viator School will provide the faith formation and academic excellence for the young people of our parish community,” he says. One goal to increase enrollment is already underway. Father stresses that members may even have to visit families in the neighborhood with printed material that invites prospective students to take a look at Catholic education at St. Viator. Fr. Egan believes that people aren’t leaving Catholic schools because they are dissatisfied with the education they are receiving. Some leave because of finances, some migrate to a “better life” in the suburbs (extremely low interest rates have made home ownership a reality) and a few perceive Chicago public schools improving with the magnet school concept. St. Viator School has worked to provide computer technology for its students. They have
a strong core of dedicated teachers and a proven track record of high test scores. St. Viator parish is blessed with an active laity but, again, Fr. Egan sees the need for greater lay involvement through reorganization if the parish is to succeed. Presently, the parish has the typical parish groups including a school board, a mothers club, and an athletic association, but there still needs to be more. He envisions a parish council made up of 15 to 17 leaders who would represent the diversity of the parish. The council would have four commissions to oversee the parish administration and the finances, prayer and worship for the parish, education and social outreach. The St. Viator lay community is actively involved in the Night Ministry, an independent social justice group that provides food and clothing for homeless youth on the streets. continued on back page
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Clerics of St. Viator 1212 E. Euclid Avenue Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5799 847-398-6805 www.viatorians.com
PAID ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL PERMIT NO. 560
Quarterly Newsletter - Winter 2004 If you are receiving multiple copies of this newsletter and/or wish to be removed from our mailing list, please call our Development Office at 847-398-6805 or fax your request to 847-398-6247.
EDUCATORS OF FAITH
The Clerics of St. Viator are religious priests and brothers sent by the Catholic Church to teach the faith and proclaim Jesus Christ as Gospel. In parishes, schools and a variety of ministries, Viatorians work with Christian communities to live, deepen and celebrate their faith.
Fr. Dan Nolan, CSV, Vocation Director 1212 E. Euclid Avenue, Arlington Hts., IL 60004 • 847-398-0685 DanNolan@viatorians.com Diversity is the strength of St. Viator Parish...
Join the Mission: Viatorian Volunteer Program...
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This urban mission reaches out to those in need on a bus that travels to different neighborhoods. Parish members raise money to buy food, then volunteer to cook and prepare meals two to three times a month on the Night Ministry bus. Another group of volunteers also works and prepares meals at the REST shelters for the homeless in the Uptown area of Chicago.
The opportunity to participate in the Viatorian Volunteer Program is open to single Catholic men who are at least 21 years of age, have college or work experience and is willing to grow in faith by living and serving within a Viatorian ministry. The ministry of a volunteer will be determined by the interests, talents and training of the volunteer and the needs of the Viatorian ministry site (either in the U.S. or in one of the mission foundations). Usually, a volunteer will serve for one year and may annually renew service up to three years.
As for the path this parish travels, Fr. Egan places the future in the hands of the laity. “My role at St. Viator is to be a pastor and leader,” says the 53-year-old priest. “But it isn’t me who determines where this parish goes, it’s the people who articulate where the parish goes. My role is to be a pastor of those dedicated, living Christians who work at believing their faith each day and celebrate it at the parish.”
When asked if John would recommend this experience to others, he responded, “I would recommend this program to a person who: wants to flip his life upside-down and backwards and see it from a different perspective, wants to get outside his own comfort zone, wants to learn about how the rest of the world lives and is willing to be changed by all of the above … then, being a Viatorian volunteer is for him!” Any single Catholic man who is interested in learning more about the Viatorian Volunteer Program is invited to contact Father Dan Nolan, CSV at 1212 E. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, IL 60004, 847-398-0685. Email: DanNolan@viatorians.com