Provincial Perspective Pope Francis, A Servant of God
herds,” to embrace the sheep and allow the lives of those we encounter to become part of our life – for he says that “to be effective shepherds, one must be willing to smell like the sheep for which they care.”
As I begin to write this reflection for VIATOR, it has been only 48 hours since Pope Francis boarded Shepherd One to return to Rome for a well-deserved rest after his visit to Cuba and the United States. By all accounts, the pope’s visit to both countries was a huge success. With the crowds pushing to get closer to him, it was clear that this pope captured the spirit and the hopes of millions of people of all religions and all walks of life.
It is clear the church of Pope Francis is not only the magnificent basilicas of Rome but also the fields where immigrants work and the factories where young and old alike toil for their daily bread. The church of Pope Francis is found in the hearts of the People of God.
What makes this pope different? And why is he called the “People’s Pope?” From the very first moments of his papacy, the world got a glimpse of a man who wanted to be close to the people, moving out of the papal residence to live and share his daily life with others. I suspect his life as a religious (Jesuit) living in community played a large part in this decision.
Two years ago, I wrote that only time will tell when asked how I felt about the election of Francis as our new pope. Today I am confident to say time has proven that Pope Francis not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. He often ends his remarks by saying “I will pray for you, please pray for me.” He knows well that he too is on a journey, needing prayers, and needing God’s grace. But this man, who is not afraid to get a little dirty, also points out a clear pathway that leads to “making a difference in the lives of God’s ‘little ones’ with those who are on the periphery of society.” That pathway involves pulling up one’s shirtsleeves and working side by side with those in need.
When asked about his views concerning those who are gay or lesbian, he responded “who am I to judge,” a response that caused many to pause and reflect. When it was time to write his first encyclical, he chose to embrace creation and the environment; calling each of us to be caretakers; seeking to protect all of creation. This pope wants to be close to the people, standing side by side on key issues that affect our daily lives.
As a Viatorian, I suspect that Fr. Querbes would be pleased with Pope Francis and very happy to be a “servant of God” in today’s Catholic Church. In St. Viator and Fr. Querbes,
Pope Francis has called bishops, priests and deacons, as well as those living consecrated lives to get closer to the people, to stand side by side with those they serve. He called those who are to be “shep-
In this Issue: 2 Provincial’s Perspective: Pope Francis, a Servant of God 3 Maternity BVM Students: Microsoft Specialists and Servant Leaders 4 Association: Las Vegas Region Adds More Viatorian Members 5 Caring for Our Common Home: Viatorians in Solidarity with Pope Francis
6 Viatorian Community Expands: New Priest Ordained 7 Viatorian Youth Congress: Immersing Teens in Faith Experiences 8 Annual Provincial Assembly: Strengthening Viatorian Bonds 9 Viatorian Religious – Witnesses of Joy! 10 Viatorian Open House: If You Build it, They Will Come www.viatorians.com
Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Provincial – Province of Chicago
Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Editor: Fr. Thomas E. Long, CSV
11 From the Archives: Saint Viator High School Charter Class
12 Back Home to Vourles 13 Celebrating our Jubilarians 14 Around the Province 15 Memoriam: Fr. Eugene Weitzel, CSV Fr. Francis White, CSV
16 It’s a Wrap! Saint Viator High School Capital Campaign Dedicated
Director of Communications: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Editorial Board: Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde, CSV Fr. Lawrence D. Lentz, CSV Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV Eileen O’Grady Daday Associate Joan Sweeney
Layout and Design: Dianna Ehrenfried, Visualedge, Inc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maternity BVM Students: Microsoft Specialists and Servant Leaders Max O’Connor may only be in eighth grade, but already he’s thinking about how he can differentiate himself and advance his career, in high school and college — and beyond. As a junior high school student at the parish school of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bourbonnais, he has been immersed in computer technology since he received his first laptop from the school, in the sixth grade. Now, entering his last year, Max and his classmates are so advanced in technology, they are studying to take tests for certifications as Microsoft Office Specialists — worth one college credit hour. One year ago, as seventh graders, they took their first test to be certified as PowerPoint specialists. This year, the eighth graders will bone up to become certified as Microsoft Word specialists. Max wants to go even further. He intends to study over the summer to take tests to be certified as a specialist in Microsoft Publisher and Excel. His classmate, Abigail Geoffrey, wants to take an online course on software coding, with the thought of possibly designing her own website. It all relates back to a commitment made nearly 10 years ago by Principal Terry Granger, in collaboration with Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor, and Fr. James Michaletz, CSV, associate pastor, to bring technology into the school. “It was more of an experiment at the beginning,” Granger says, “of students having access to technology, all day, every day.” The school took the plunge in 2006 and created a one-to-one program that put laptops in the hands of every sixth, seventh and eighth grade student. Students learned to take notes, read assignments, submit homework, present papers and take tests all on laptop computers, that the school owns and families lease. The program was groundbreaking at the time and served as a prototype for schools in the Bourbonnais/Kankakee region,
Technology teacher Steve Langelett demonstrates to a sixth grade class how to set up their laptops, including saving information to the cloud.
as well as the Diocese of Joliet. But as the years wore on, a problem surfaced: students had mastered the technology so well, they needed a new challenge. “We needed some sort of goal to shoot for,” says Steve Langelett, Maternity’s technology director. “Preparing for Microsoft certifications gives them sort of a college final.” Langelett began preparing students three years ago, using their Tech Plus class each week to go over material on the test. At the time, Certiport, which administers the certification test for Microsoft, told Langelett that they were the first eighth grade class in Illinois to sit for the exam. “It gives them a mastery in Microsoft that just builds confidence,” Langelett adds. At the school’s annual graduation banquet, Langelett encourages eighth graders to share their knowledge with high school classmates. They now are certified as specialists — and problem solvers — and they need to share the wealth. “I think it’s wonderful,” says Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, associate pastor. “When they graduate, they’re ready to hit the ground running. They’re often times ahead of their peers, but more importantly, they are in a position to help their classmates.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
Max O’Connor, right, reflects with his eighth grade classmates, Colleen Bassett, Sarah Littrell and Joey Allegro (L-R), about the benefits of being immersed in technology during middle school.
Association: Las Vegas Region Adds More Viatorian Members Viatorians have served residents in the Las Vegas area for more than 60 years, and their ministry continues to draw others into the Viatorian charism. That was evident in September, when members of the Henderson/Las Vegas region gathered to receive the formal commitment of two new lay associate members and the renewal of a current associate member. The news gets better. They also welcomed six new pre-associates who are preparing the two-year discernment process before joining the Viatorian Community. As a group, they come from all walks of life. That brings to 43 the number of members of the Viatorian Community in the Henderson/Las Vegas region, including lay associates and professed priests and brothers. Lay associates were welcomed by the Viatorian General Chapter in 1997, and its numbers continue to increase. Association is open to fully-initiated adult Catholics, men and women, single or married, who are actively involved with the Viatorians and their ministry. As pre-associates, they enter into a two-year discernment process where they examine their own spirituality, reflect on the Viatorian charism and gather regularly with the Viatorian Community in prayer and discussion. Associates are dedicated to Gospel values and show energy and enthusiasm for Christ’s call to change the world, while sharing in the Viatorian excitement for ministering with young people and families. Ultimately, being a lay associate provides a mutually enriching and creative relationship that supports and challenges both associates and vowed religious in their response to the Gospel.
New associates John Keating, left, and Don Wells, center, made their first commitment as Viatorian Associates, while Brian Barrett, right, committed to three more years.
New associates include John Keating, who practices law in Las Vegas, and retired lawyer Don Wells, who made their two-year commitments, along with Associate Brian Barrett, who is a full time nursing student and renewed his commitment for three years. Sonja Brouwers made her first commitment at the provincial assembly in June. New pre-associates who have applied to join the community run the gamut, but they all share this much in common: They are actively involved with Viatorians in ministry at either St. Thomas More or St. Viator Catholic communities. They include Megan Landis, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate and management consultant, who is the daughter of two Viatorian Associates (Mary and the late Dan Miller). Lisa Fairweather serves as music director at St. Thomas More, while college student Anthony Gugino serves as music minister at St. Viator Catholic Community. Another St. Thomas More parishioner, Connie Clough, is a preassociate. She is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Las Vegas. Finally, Deborah and Romeo Perez are active parishioners at St. Viator in both the school and parish. Deborah is a returning student pursuing a degree in secondary education at UNLV, while Romeo Perez is an attorney in Las Vegas.
(L-R) The new pre-associates include Megan Landis, Lisa Fairweather, Anthony Gugino, and Deborah and Romeo Perez. (Connie Clough not pictured)
Br. Rob Robertson, CSV
Caring for Our Common Home: Viatorians in Solidarity with Pope Francis Even before Pope Francis made his historic trip to the United States, Viatorians across the country began immersing themselves in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’ On the Care of Our Common Home. Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, peace, justice and integrity of creation coordinator for the Viatorian Community, led a group at the Province Center in Arlington Heights, while Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV, opened a pair of adult education sessions on the same day, which drew 100 people. Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, began leading another group at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, which began in October. At the Province Center discussion group, Br. Peter Lamick, far right, “We are really happy with the numbers and had a very good initial meeting,” Fr. Egan said. “The pope’s coming to the U.S. dovetails nicely with this as well. He certainly has re-energized lots of folks.” At the Province Center, nearly one dozen associates, brothers and priests gathered, along with Saint Viator High School faculty members. “This encyclical has captured the interest and imagination of all kinds of groups around the world, both Catholic and non-Catholic,” Br. Gosch said. “I think it’s time to reflect on it, pray on it and to share our thoughts on it.” Using a readers’ guide, the Province Center group decided to tackle the
makes a point.
190-page, 40,000-word encyclical, one chapter at a time. Consequently, they will meet six times, one for each chapter. “I am quite impressed with how science and religion are merged,” said Fr. John Milton, CSV, a retired physics professor. “Its defense of scientific arguments is quite sophisticated.” Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, summed up the thoughts of many when he said: “Part of the reason I wanted to join this group is that it gets me to read (the encyclical).” In this teaching encyclical, Pope Francis covers everything from the Gospel of Creation, to climate change, fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Ultimately, he states that “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values, and conscience” (105). “I’m just intrigued with how the lack of care for our earth really affects the most vulnerable people, the marginalized,” Br. Gosch added. “Everything we do has a ripple effect.”
A total of 50 adults per session attended the first discussion group at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV, to reflect on the encyclical written by Pope Francis.
Eileen O’Grady Daday
Viatorian Community Expands: New Priest Ordained In the historic St. Viator Church in Chicago, before his Viatorian confreres, family members, parishioners and colleagues from Saint Viator High School, Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Bishop Christopher Glancy, CSV, the Viatorians’ only active bishop, came from Belize to preside at the ordination. Bishop George Rassas, an auxiliary bishop with the Archdiocese of Chicago, also was on hand for the Mass. “We gather today in great joy,” Bishop Glancy said to those in attendance. “This is just what Pope Francis said about consecrated life: It is a joyful moment.” Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, lies prostrate during his ordination, symbolizing his dependence upon God and the prayers of the Viatorian Community to be successful in his new ministry.
As part of the ordination rite, all of the Viatorian priests on hand processed up to the altar and laid their hands on Fr. Lydon’s head in blessing. Bishop Glancy then anointed his hands.
“Sometimes we never know about these turn of events,” Fr. Lydon said. “If Fr. Bolser hadn’t hired me in 1994, you just never know what would have happened.”
“His hands are anointed because they’re set aside for a spiritual purpose,” Bishop Glancy said. “These are hands that will bless people, raise up the body and blood of Christ and call on the Holy Spirit for guidance.”
Fr. Lydon celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving one day later at St. Viator Parish, once again in the company of his confreres, family and parishioners, and even his first grade teacher and a professor from CTU.
Fr. Lydon’s ordination came just over 40 years after he graduated from Saint Viator High School, and 20 years after Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, hired him to teach Spanish at his alma mater. Fr. Lydon eventually would join the administration.
Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV, offered the homily, in which he pointed to Fr. Lydon’s ordination as a sign of hope in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
He has spent the last four years completing his seminary studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, serves as president.
“Let your priestly heart be grounded in mercy, in hope and in love,” Fr. Kass said, “and in the activity of prayer.”
In thanking everyone after- wards, Fr. Lydon described the day as a “celebration of community” and a reminder for those on hand to listen to their own calls — and to act on them.
Over the summer, Fr. Lydon traveled to Viatorian ministry sites in Canada, Colombia and Haiti, where he was among other newly ordained Viatorians called together to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life. In August, he rejoined the faculty at Saint Viator High School, where he teaches four sections of freshman religion classes and is working to develop a series of faith-based experiences for parents. Eileen O’Grady Daday
As part of the ordination, Bishop Christopher Glancy, CSV, anoints the hands of Fr. Lydon, as a way of setting them apart for spiritual purposes.
Viatorian Youth Congress: Immersing Teens in Faith Experiences What do you get when you gather more than 60 young people — from ministry sites across the country where Viatorians serve — and bring them together for four days of faith formation and leadership training? A powerful experience, filled with energy and life-changing moments, that’s what. This year’s congress took place in the cradle of the Viatorian Community, Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bourbonnais, exactly 150 years after Viatorians first arrived in the area from Montreal. Delegations came from St. Viator Catholic Community and Bishop Gorman High School, both in Las Vegas, St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, St. Viator Parish in Chicago, Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, IL; as well as teens from St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, and Maternity BVM, in Bourbonnais. In all, between the 50 youth delegates, and nearly one dozen college age leaders — as well as the nearly 20 Viatorian associates, brothers and priests — there was a sense of energy and excitement about experiencing their faith in new and different ways. Over the course of the four days, teens explored different forms of prayer: Taizé prayer, praying with Scripture, music and meditation as well as journaling,participating in group discussions and attending daily Masses. “It’s a week spent in prayer and discussion about the Viatorian mission,” says Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, one of the presenters. “The experience helps these young faith leaders realize that they are part of a worldwide family — that is changing the world.” Eileen O”Grady Daday
Annual Provincial Assembly: Strengthening Viatorian Bonds Viatorian associates, brothers and priests gathered in June for fellowship and spiritual renewal. The annual provincial assembly took place in the cradle of the community, in the Kankakee/Bourbonnais area, exactly 150 years after the first Viatorians arrived there. But Viatorians did more than celebrate their milestone anniversary. The assembly was a working gathering.
“By any measure, 60, 50 or 25 years of religious life is no small achievement; it is a life of commitment,” Fr. Kass said. “Not one of us knew how it would turn out. This life’s journey of religious life is fraught with Associate Hector Obregon-Luna asks risks, yet these milestones Viatorian a question during the working sessions of the are important. provincial assembly.
“As we look to our future, we must find ways to bring discipleship and evangelization — of whom we believe Christ to be — in our world today,” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial. “How can we be disciples in our world today — and how can we be “They allow us to pause and take stock,” he added, “and renew us disciples as Viatorians?” for the rest of the journey.” The assembly also featured the recommitment — and first time commitment — of Viatorian associates. Collectively, they included a nurse, financial specialists, educators and a television executive. Yet, this much they shared in common: they have come to identify with the Viatorian mission, spirituality and community life.
(L-R) Jubilarians Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV, Fr. William Haesaert, CSV, and Fr. John Eck, CSV, concelebrate Mass.
One highlight was acknowledging the Viatorian religious celebrating jubilees. This year, the three who were on hand represented 160 years of religious life. Fr. John Eck, CSV, a retired teacher and counselor who is now engaged in pastoral work, celebrated 60 years of religious life. Now living at St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, he helps out with sacramental ministry at surrounding parishes.
Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, takes in the historical displays mounted for the assembly by Archivist Joan Sweeney.
Fr. William Haesaert, CSV, celebrated 50 years of religious life. The former teacher and pastor continues to minister at Viatorian parishes in Las Vegas, taking special interest in campus ministry programs for young people.
Sonja Brouwers, a longtime parishioner of St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, made her first commitment as a Viatorian associate. Associates who (L-R) Fr. John Peeters, CSV, Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, and Bishop Christopher Clancy, CSV, relax during the first recommitted themnight of the assembly. selves as Viatorians for a period of three years, included Julie Baker, Faith Dussman, Linda Nishi, Hector Obregon-Luna, and Joan and Jim Thomas, all from the Arlington Heights/Chicago region; as well as Cheryl and Daniel Schwarz from the Henderson/Las Vegas region.
Associates who recommitted themselves as Viatorians include: Faith Dussman, left, and Julie Baker in the back row, as well as from left to right: Linda Nishi, Hector Obregon-Luna, Cheryl Schwarz, Dan Schwarz, Jim Thomas, Joan Thomas and Sonja Brouwers, who made her first commitment.
Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV, “May you continue to be inspired by the mission of Fr. Querbes, also celebrated 50 years of religious life. The former professor at and live that out through prayer and ministry,” Fr. Thomas von St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, now lives in Behren, CSV, added, “in partnership with the Viatorians.” Chicago and he offered the homily at the jubilee Mass, held at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. Eileen O’Grady Daday www.viatorians.com 8
Viatorian Religious - Witnesses of Joy! Viateurs du monde, temoins de la joie! Viatorians around the world, witnesses of joy! That was the theme of the “Congress on Viatorian Consecrated Life” held in August in Haiti, in response to a mandate from Pope Francis, to “Wake up the World.” This international meeting of professed Viatorians took place in Port-au-Prince and coincided with a celebration of 50 years of Viatorians serving in Haiti.
Fr. Alain Ambeault,CSV, center in white shirt, led the international Congress on Viatorian Consecrated Life in Haiti.
Each Viatorian province and delegation sent two recently ordained or professed religious to reflect on the evolution of consecrated life in the Viatorian Community and to seek ways to revitalize vocations.
Viatorians of the congress theme song, composed and arranged by Fr. Paul Pierre, CSV. The Congress included a tour of Viatorian schools and communities in Gonaïves and Saint-Marc, two cities north of the capital, before concluding with a Mass held on the sight of the former Villa Manrèse, a retreat house run by Viatorians which collapsed during the 2010 earthquake.
“The Viatorian religious who gathered felt that we Viatorians are called to continually scrutinize out lifestyle in order to be closer to those to whom we are sent,” said Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, superior general. The young religious — which included Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, and Br. Fredy Contreras, CSV, and Br. Juan Carlos Ubaque, CSV, from Colombia — invited all Viatorians to risk the joy of the Gospel, to risk taking new and undiscovered paths, even when there are challenges and difficulties. In short, over and over again, delegates to the congress heard how essential it is for Viatorians to radically follow Jesus.
Villa Manrèse had been an important center for renewal and formation of religious and laity from Haiti and throughout the Caribbean. During the liturgy, plans for a new Villa Manrèse were released, and it became obvious how important a rebuilt Villa Manrèse will be for the Viatorians of Haiti. Perhaps the theme song of the 50th anniversary Mass best expresses the prayer of those who attended:
Br. Juan Carlos Ubaque, CSV, was one of two newly professed Viatorians to attend.
Lord, may you be praised for your great kindness to us, Because in your hands we are clay filled with your Spirit! Lord may you be praised forever. You have made us laborers for the gospel in order to proclaim your Kingdom.
Newly professed Viatorians came from the countries of Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Honduras, Peru and the United States to attend the congress. One evening was dedicated to paying tribute to the Viatorians of Haiti. A highlight of the evening was the performance by the African
Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV
Fr. Daniel Lydon, third from left in front row wearing the red cap, gathers with members of the international Viatorian Community.
Viatorian Open House: If You Build It, They Will Come A new spin on the old adage turned out to be true, when the Viatorian Community threw open the doors of its Province Center in Arlington Heights, and more than 200 people turned out. They included neighbors, alumni of Viatorian schools, vendors, benefactors and members of the general public, all curious to see what goes on inside the building and explore its grounds. Huge banners placed along Euclid Avenue, invited passing motorists to come inside and see what lies beyond the stone entryway. Invitations went out as well, with Viatorians figuring that most people would have no idea of the expansive grounds and the Province Center building itself, which was established by the Viatorian Community nearly 60 years ago, after purchasing an 80-acre farm.
Guests at the open house filled the meeting room of the Province
“Our children were educated by the Viatorians, and now some of our Center, to watch the movie, The Search, narrated by Hollywood grandchildren,” said Marge Foreman of Arlington Heights, in attendance actor, Pat O’Brien, about discernment and the Viatorian Novitiate. with her husband, Joe. “We had to come.” The day started with an outdoor Mass, celebrated under a tent and within eyeshot of the original farmhouse that stood on the property when the Viatorians purchased the land with the intention of moving its novitiate there from Chicago. “In this Year of Consecrated Life, we are asked by Pope Francis to ‘Wake up the World,’ ” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, during his homily. “During this special year, Pope Francis asks us to listen to those who have given their lives to a life of service — and to being a religious.” Viatorians also followed up on recommendations by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, for religious communities in the United States to hold a “day with religious” as a way to educate the public about religious life and carry out the intent of Pope Francis. Visitors explored the Province Center and looked over historical displays from its early days as a novitiate. They also took in a movie, The Search, narrated by Hollywood actor, Pat O’Brien, about discernment and the Viatorian Novitiate. During the day, they met Viatorian associates, brothers and priests, who described some of their current ministries. Of special interest were the enlarged photos displayed throughout the building, featuring images from the early novitiate classes, from their vow ceremonies to daily routines. The organizing committee — which included Br. Carlos Ernesto Flórez, CSV, Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, Br. Peter Lamick and Associate Karen Cutler — also recreated a novice’s room, complete with cassock and prayer book. “This property has developed over time, from a novitiate that was teeming with young novices,” Fr. von Behren added, “to the religious community that it is today — made up of men and women, still called to education and to serve those accounted of little importance.”
Eileen O’Grady Daday
Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, celebrated Mass under a tent during the province open house in July. Br. William Pardo, CSV, right, assisted him.
From the Archives: Saint Viator High School Charter Class of 1965 Members of Saint Viator High School’s ‘Class of 1965’ celebrated their 50th reunion in August. They were the ‘Charter Class’ – the first graduating class that attended all four years at the school, which opened in 1961 in Arlington Heights. Without realizing it at the time, the clubs and traditions they started helped to form today’s Saint Viator High School. A closer look at their senior yearbook, the 1965 Viatome, explains a lot. The table of contents indicates key areas of interest: a dedication, the administration and faculty, and the classes and activities. Here are some examples: The first indication of their class spirit was the yearbook’s dedication to Rev. Daniel J. Mirabelli, CSV. Along with his duties as treasurer, Fr. Mirabelli was moderator of the Lettermen’s Club, and moderator of The Pride, a service club designed to strengthen loyalty to the new high school. A yearbook message from school administrators gave students a tangible image to take with them, that continues to resonate with students: “To the members of the Charter Class, to all students of Saint Viator, these (school) doors are a symbol and a reality: a doorway to life and to learning.”
Members of the Pride Club posed for the yearbook in the auditorium with their moderator, Fr. Daniel Mirabelli, CSV, first row, right.
The Charter Class of ’65 consisted of 184 young men and it produced an unusual number of leaders. It held a strong academic record, led athletic teams to victory and helped develop the extracurricular organizations. According to the yearbook, this class “has had an exceptional opportunity to mold the life of the school and has used the opportunity to good advantage. In academic, athletic and extracurricular life, it has set the standard.”
The school philosophy was to make good Christians, “in mind, in heart, in will and in strength and to integrate each young man as a valuable asset into society as a As far as extracurricular activities, for a fairly new school, they whole.” This responsibility fell to the were numerous. Consider, that in 1965 students could participrincipal, Rev. Francis E. Williams, CSV, pate in Student Council, Chorus, since deceased, who led the school from Pride Club, Letterman’s Club, its beginning until 1966 with the help of Debate, Dramatics, Chess, Great his staff of Viatorian priests, brothers and Boys did everything during lay men and women. Viatorians, who as- the early years of SaintViator Books, National Honor Society, Proctors, Sodality, Astronomy, sisted him in the 1964/65 school year and High School, including servwho are still going strong today are Rev. ing as cheerleaders at football Radio, Lion Lector newspaper staff, Viatome yearbook staff, prom comJames Michaletz, CSV, assistant principal; games. mittee, intramurals, hall guards, Rev. Arnold Perham, CSV, mathematics department chair; Rev. John office staff, cheerleaders and athletics — Milton, CSV, science department chair; and Rev. John Eck, CSV, which included football, cross country, math instructor. wrestling, basketball, swimming, tennis, baseball, track and bowling teams. Today, Saint Viator High School in 2015, coed since 1987, is still growing in size, advancing in curriculum, with updated facilities and state of the art technology under the direct supervision of the Viatorian Community. The foundation laid by the Class of ‘65 has stood the test of time. Congratulations, Charter Class of 1965 - for leading the way!
Joan Sweeney Viatorian Associate and Archivist
Senior class officers included: Pat Kennedy, president, Michael Hogan, vice president, Vincent Morehand, treasurer and Thomas Zimmerman, secretary 11
Back Home to Vourles
In the Footsteps of Our Founder... On Sept.1, the anniversary of the death of our founder, Viatorians pause to honor Fr. Louis Querbes. This year all eyes were focused on Vourles, France. Church, civic and community leaders celebrated the return of the Viatorian General Direction — the residence and headquarters of the superior general — to Vourles after a 125 year absence. Where and why has the General Direction been located elsewhere for 125 years? From our 1831 founding until 1890, the headquarters was in Vourles. The aftermath of the Paris Commune insurrection in 1871 introduced two periods of violent French hostility toward Catholicism, with intentions to destroy religious congregations and to eliminate all Catholic schools. Both objectives threatened the very existence of the Viatorians. Viatorians realized by 1895 that in order to survive, they needed to leave France. Consequently, they acquired a house in Aerschet, Belgium and moved the postulants there in 1907. The General Direction settled in 1908 at Jette-St.Pierre, near Brussels. Another crisis occurred when Germany invaded Belgium on Aug. 4, 1914. The Superior General and Council were trapped in occupied Belgium until the end of World War I. They nearly starved, but survived, and the General Direction remained in Jette-St.-Pierre, where three succeeding Superior Generals governed from Belgium.
Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, confers with Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, superior general, before the dedication of the new General Direction Headquarters in the building behind them.
However, in 1962, Pope Pius XII requested all international congregations with Papal Approbation to establish their general headquarters in Rome. Since the Clerics of St. Viator had received their Papal Approbation from Pope Gregory XVI in 1838, the community acquired land in Rome (Via della Sierra EUR). A new General Direction, constructed to meet immediate and future needs, opened February, 1962.
When Belgium surrendered to invading German troops on May 28, 1940, the General, Fr. Paul Emile Farley (1937-1946), was in the U.S. making visits to North American Viatorians. They insisted he stay in Canada, making a special dispensation allowing two operating General Councils – one in Belgium, another in Canada. Fr. Farley eventually returned to Jette-St.-Pierre in 1945, where he relinquished his duties to Fr. Jules Blanchard until the 1947 General Chapter.
By 1973, the General Council determined the EUR facility was oversized for community needs and the property was sold. The Superior General, Council and staff moved in 1975 to the Mostacciano district of Rome at Via Padre Angelo Paoli, where it was the General Direction for two Superior Generals, until 2012.
From 1947-1967, two more Superior Generals governed from Belgium, but by 1967 the General Council decided to move to North America, to New York. Upon arrival they discovered the Archdiocese opposed their proposal, saying that too much property in that area already had been taken off the tax roles for religious purposes.
The decision to return to Vourles came during the administration of Superior General Alain Ambeault and his Council. As Fr. Ambeault observed at the Vourles dedication “The Berceau (cradle) now embarks on a new mission that has deep roots and history.”
The General Council then proceeded to Canada, purchasing property at Coteau-du-Lac in 1948, paid for by the American provinces. The General Direction remained there under two Superior Generals (1948-1962).
Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV
Celebrating our Jubilarians... Fr. Alejandro Adame, CSV, a native Colombian, celebrated his 25 years as a Viatorian religious on Dec. 8, 2015.
In 2009, Fr. Lopez returned to his roots in education, serving as an administrator of the colegio until 2011. During those years, he also was elected by his confreres as superior of the Foundation of Colombia.
In preparation for his years of ministry, he completed his degree in philosophy and languages at Universidad Libre De Colombia and his degree in theology at San Buenaventura University.
From 2013 through the present, Fr. Lopez has served as chaplain at the National Service of Learning, or SENA. The national agency focuses on leadership development and administrative professional formation and is headquartered in Bogotá.
Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, pronounced his first vows as a Viatorian in January, 1980. His ordination to the priesthood took place on Dec. 1, 1990.
During the 1990s, he had a long stay at the Province Center in Arlington Heights, where he sharpened his skills in the English language and got to know his Chicago brothers.
He holds a degree in philosophy from San Buenaventura University, a degree in theology from La Javeriana University and a degree in educational administration from La Sabana University.
For the last 10 years, his primary ministry has been to the students at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia. However, he also has agreed to serve in a leadership position among the Viatorian Community in the Foundation of Colombia, which was established in 1963. In January 2015, Fr. Adame was elected for a second, three-year term as a foundation councilor. Both he and Fr. Frank Enciso, CSV, were elected by their confreres to serve on the council with Fr. Edgar Suárez, who was re-elected as superior of the Foundation of Colombia.
Fr. Luis Eduardo Lopez, CSV, a native Colombian, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first vows on Dec. 8, 2015. After studies and a degree at La Javeriana University, he earned a second degree in theology at San Buenaventura University, both in Bogotá. Fr. Lopez professed his first vows as a Viatorian in 1990, before being ordained a priest on Dec. 9, 1995. His first assignment as a religious was to teach at Colegio San Viator, from 1991 through 1998. For the next 10 years, he served as pastor of San Basilio Magno Parish in Bogotá.
Since 1994, Fr. Vanegas has spent most of his time in educational administration. In those years, he has been a teacher, counselor, chaplain and rector of Colegio San Viator. From 1994 to 2002, he served as rector and principal of the school. During the next three years, Fr. Vanegas devoted most of his attention to developing the International Baccalaureate Program at the colegio for high achieving high schools students. From 2005-2006, Fr. Vanegas served as rector of another private school, Gimnasio Los Pinos in Bogotá. However, in 2008, he returned to the colegio to serve as academic director, before taking on the role of rector in 2012. In February 2015, Fr. Vanegas led the colegio through an accreditation process, which earned the school a four-star rating and recognition of excellence from the European Foundation for Quality Management. The award is similar to the National Blue Ribbon award given by the U.S. Department of Education to outstanding schools.
Br. Donald Houde, CSV
Around the Province... This issue of Around the Province offers updates on the latest assignments of Viatorians and highlights their ministries around the country. Never let it be said that any grass grows under Fr. Arnold Perham’s feet. After researching new software all summer, developed in part by the Smithsonian Institute, Fr. Perham introduced a new, interdisciplinary project to freshmen in Saint Viator High School’s Querbes Scholars Program, which mixes math and botany. Officially, Fr. Perham retired from the high school nearly a dozen years ago, but he still reports ev- Fr. Arnie Perham, CSV ery day, tutoring students and coming up with intriguing projects for the Querbes Scholars. It keeps him young!
Archbishop Blase Cupich and Br. Pat Drohan, CSV
During his four years in the priesthood, Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, has said Mass for a variety of worshipers, but in August he experienced a first: He celebrated — twice — with Bears’ coaches, a few players and staff. Fr. Nesbit serves as associate pastor of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, located adjacent to Olivet Nazarene University, site of Bears training camp and former home to St. Viator College. “
Most days, Br. Pat Drohan, CSV, goes about his work quietly, in running the Villa Desiderata Retreat Center in suburban McHenry. But last summer his role came to the forefront, when seminarians from the Chicago Archdiocese Mundelein Seminary arrived at the retreat house for some rest and relaxation. Their getaway also drew Archbishop Blase Cupich, who recognized Br. Drohan for his more than 50 years of service.
Fr. Simon Lefebvre, CSV, served as a missionary in Taiwan, at the new St. Viator High School in Taichung that Viatorians opened in 1956. He served as a priest and chaplain for 14 years before returning to the states, but his former students still remember Fr. Simon Lefebvre, CSV, third from him. Graduates, now living in left in front row Los Angeles, took their teacher out for his birthday, his 88th, making him the third oldest in the Chicago Province of the Viatorian Community.
Fr. Mark Francis, CSV
by Liturgical Press recently won first place in the “liturgy” category of the Catholic Press Association’s 2015 book awards, which was handed out at the Catholic Media Conference in Buffalo, NY.
Worshipers congratulate Fr. William Haesaert, CSV, after Mass.
At the request of Brian McCaskey, left, Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, celebrated Mass at the Bears training camp.
Lines formed outside St. Viator Catholic Community — after all three morning Masses — of parishioners wanting to congratulate Fr. William Haesaert, CSV, on his 50th jubilee as a religious. Nearly 600 people in all waited to greet him and pose for photos. “Over the last 50 years as a religious, my prayer has been to serve God and his people. My hope was and is, that in some way I would make a difference in the lives of those I served,” Fr. Haesaert wrote in the Sunday bulletin. “Your presence on Sunday was a tremendous support and affirmation to me.”
In late September, leaders of the Diocese of Joliet paused during one of their regular Finance Council meetings to recognize Br. Leo Ryan, CSV. Br. Ryan served on the council from 2007-2015, including three years as its board chair. The Leo Ryan, CSV, left with Bishop R. role was an important one, Br. Daniel Conlon of Joliet as the diocese serves more than 187,000 Catholic households in seven counties and 130 parishes and missions. Among those are four parishes in the Bourbonnais and Kankakee area run by Viatorians.
After spending 12 years in Rome as Superior General of the worldwide Viatorian Community, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, took a one-year sabbatical at Santa Clara University, where he immersed himself in research for his next book: “Local Worship, Global Church.” It turns out his time was well spent. The book, published in 2014
Eileen O’Grady Daday
In Memoriam... Fr. Eugene Weitzel, CSV
Fr. Francis White, CSV
Fr. Eugene Weitzel, CSV, overcame a lifelong vision disability that could have been crippling. Instead, he went on to earn multiple degrees, write several books and ultimately achieve his dream of becoming a parish priest.
The Rev. Francis White, CSV, the oldest member of the Viatorian Community, passed away peacefully on June 7, 2015 at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights. Born Sept. 19, 1917 in Springfield, IL, he served as a priest for more than 70 years. Fr. White was 97.
He died April 30 from complications resulting from a fall he suffered on Holy Saturday. Fr. Weitzel was 88. His confreres reflected on how his life had mirrored that of his good friend, Fr. Robert Cooney, CSV. They attended the former Cathedral Boys’ High School in Springfield together — where they first met the Viatorians — worked at St. John’s Hospital as elevator operators before attending St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN, and ultimately joining the Viatorians the same year. “Their careers followed one another’s for a substantial part of their ministry,” says Br. Don Houde, CSV, who followed them into the novitiate one year later. Ultimately, Fr. Weitzel followed his dear friend into eternal life. He passed away less than six months after Fr. Cooney. “I would say if one is looking for true happiness and a real sense of giving, it can be found in religious life,” Fr. Weitzel reflected back in 2009 on the occasion of his 50th jubilee as a priest. “I have never been unhappy as a priest.” When Fr. Weitzel entered the community, he already had earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy from St. Joseph’s; as a Viatorian, he earned his master’s degree in education from DePaul University and his doctorate in moral theology from Catholic University in Washington.
“Some people leave footprints,” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial. “Fr. White left a permanent impression on people’s hearts.” During a 2011 interview at the Province Center, as he approached 75 years in vows, Fr. White reflected on his calling to religious life, and in particular why he was drawn to the Viatorians. “Someone has to ask you,” he said simply. Fr. White attended Cathedral Boys’ High School, where he first met the Viatorians, and in particular, Br. Charles Carlon, CSV, who asked him to consider a vocation. Shortly after graduating, Fr. White took his first vows in 1937 as a Viatorian brother. He was ordained a priest in 1944, after earning his bachelor’s degree in Latin from St. Ambrose College, before earning a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Illinois. His ministry took him across the country and around the world, literally. His first assignment came in 1944, when Fr. White taught at St. Joseph School for the Deaf in the Bronx, before he returned to Illinois to teach at St. Philip’s High School in Chicago and Cathedral Boys’ High School. When the Viatorians opened Rakusei High School in Kyoto, Japan in 1948, they turned to Fr. White to be its principal and superior, a title he held until 1956. Upon returning from Japan, he served in Illinois, both at Cathedral Boys High School and Spalding Institute in Peoria, and as spiritual director at the Viatorian Novitiate in Arlington Heights, 1961-1963.
Early teaching assignments took him to St. Philip High School in Chicago, Spalding Institute in Peoria, Cathedral Boy’s High School and Griffin High School in Springfield, where he taught religion from 1959-1971.
The latter part of his ministry was spent doing pastoral work, mostly in Las Vegas. He led St. Viator Parish as pastor from 1970-1979, and later served at Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas, as associate pastor from 19832006, before retiring at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.
One of his students would go on to not only join the Viatorians but become provincial, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV.
Despite leaving his beloved Las Vegas and being away for nearly 10 years, his legions of fans still loved him.
Fr. Weitzel made the transition from high school teaching to hospital chaplaincy in 1971. He returned to St. John’s, where he worked as a teen, to serve as its chaplain, offering care and a spiritual presence to its patients.
One of them who preferred to remain anonymous, installed a full-sized billboard honoring his pastoral ministry near one of the busiest interchanges near the Las Vegas Strip — the Spaghetti Bowl — where reportedly, 300,000 motorists pass through every day.
He made hospital rounds until 1989, when he became pastor of St. Alexius parish in Beardstown and later added the pastorship of St. Fidelis in Arenzville, both in the Diocese of Springfield. Fr. Weitzel retired from his full time pastorships in 2006, though he stayed on as part-time sacramental minister at St. Alexius until 2011. In reflecting on his 50 years as a priest, Fr. Weitzel added: “I think the most satisfying thing that has happened to me is the wonderful opportunities I have been given to work in my home diocese.”
“The people in Las Vegas absolutely loved him,” Fr. von Behren added. “He was a giant of a Viatorian.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
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Newsletter – Fall 2015 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
It’s a Wrap! Saint Viator High School Capital Campaign Dedicated It was a meeting of the minds, between Archbishop Cupich, left, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, center, and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial.
Archbishop Blase Cupich made his second visit to Saint Viator High School this year, and he felt so at home that he donned a baseball cap, and accepted a shirt and bag, all adorned with the Lions’ logo. “He’s a lion for life,” said Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president, “and he’s committed to Catholic education.” The Chicago archbishop headlined a dedication and prayer service held in August to celebrate the completion of a $3 million renovation of its fine arts facilities and the multi-media, college-styled dining facility, the Fr. Louis Querbes Hall. Fr. Corey Brost,CSV, president, presents Archbishop Cupich with Saint Viator spirit wear.
“It’s spectacular,” Br. Ryan said. “And I like how it’s tuned into all the latest technology. It will really help carry students into the 21st century.” Many of the investors supported the capital campaign, despite not having any students at the school any longer.
The dedication drew many of the school’s former administrators, including from left: Fr. Thomas von Behren, principal and president, Br. Donald Houde, CSV, principal, Fr. Donald Fitzsimmons, CSV, teacher, Fr. John Milton, CSV, science chair, Fr. James Michaletz, CSV, assistant principal, Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, principal, Fr. Robert Erickson, CSV, treasurer, and Br. Leo Ryan, CSV, president.
In thanking the Viatorian Community and guests on hand for investing in the school and its mission, the archbishop described their partnership as a “great enterprise” and one that gives young students a “very hopeful outlook on the world.” “I really do find that Catholic education, especially at the secondary level, is a top priority. We need to bond together in ways that make it possible for many families to enjoy the great privilege of schools like Saint Viator.” Many of the Viatoriains who served as teachers and administrators were on hand for the dedication, including Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV, a former president of the school and the last living member of the building committee — made up of Viatorians — to design the school.
“Our kids had a tremendous experience here. Viator not only prepared them for college, but it has carried them through their professional lives,” said Jack Klues of Arlington Heights. “And when you combine all the spirit and commitment of the Viatorians, we had to support this.” Tod Faerber, a member of the board of trustees and Saint Viator graduate, agreed. The youngest of his four children, Joe, graduated in 2014, but he continues to work for the school. “This is great,” he said looking around the new Querbes Hall. “Anything that we can do prepare these students for college and beyond, I’m all for.” With the completion of Querbes Hall and the fine arts facilities, it brought to a close the school’s Shaping the Future with Faith Campaign, a fouryear, $14 million undertaking, with major building improvements and an increased endowment fund, all made possible by generous donors. “Today is the culmination of a long journey,” Fr. Brost added, “that will provide facilities that will enhance the educational experience for each student here and for generations. “We have also increased our endowment, from $8 million to $10 million,” he added, “to allow more families to experience the transformative power of a Saint Viator education.” Eileen O’Grady Daday