Provincial Perspective Dear Friends, The tragic events of October 1st in Las Vegas shocked that city and our entire country. The lives of so many people and families were changed forever through the violence and senseless tragedy that evening. For over 60 years Viatorians have ministered in Las Vegas and so many of our members immediately responded in the hope of bringing support and care to those in need. This issue of Viator details that response at St. Viator and St. Thomas More parishes. I know that you join me in continuing to pray for all those where were affected by this horrible moment in our history.
at St. George Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Designed to provide space and programs for the youth of St. George, this center embraces Fr. Querbes’ founding vision and commitment to ministering to youth and educating them in the faith. These are just a few examples of the new and exciting initiatives of our Viatorian Community as we continue to discern the ways we can effectively respond to the call of Pope Francis to never forget the young, the poor, the forgotten and the neglected in our society.
In another Las Vegas initiative, our Viatorian Community will open a Cristo Rey high school in Las Vegas soon (projected to be in September, 2019). One of over 30 such institutions throughout the United States, Cristo Rey St. Viator Las Vegas will provide a college preparatory education to students from low income families in the greater Las Vegas community. We are excited about this new initiative and look forward to this new adventure in mission in the Las Vegas community.
Finally, as I write this column, the Superior General of the Viatorian Community and two members of his council are in the midst of their pastoral visit to the Province of Chicago. This important moment in the life of our community takes place every six years and provides our superior general and members of his leadership team the opportunity to meet with all the members of our province, visit our various places of ministry and come to better understand the reality of our Viatorian life in the United States.
I am also pleased to report that the first six months of our Viator House of Hospitality have been very successful. Established earlier this year, the House of Hospitality is located in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs and is grounded in the Viatorian commitment to young people and to “those accounted of little importance” by providing compassionate accompaniment to young adult male undocumented immigrants released from federal detention. Currently, 15 young men are in residence and participate in the programs offered there.
Thank you for your support of our Viatorian Community. Know that you are remembered in our prayers each day. In Viator,
This issue also includes a story detailing the blessing and dedication of the recently completed Father Querbes Youth Ministry Center
Rev. Robert M. Egan, CSV Provincial
In this Issue: 2 Provincial Perspective
9 Q & A: Meet Associate Juliann Dwyer
3 Viatorians Respond to the Las Vegas
10 Provincial Assembly: Educating
4 Reflecting on 30 Years of Coeducation
12 Newest Viatorian Priest Ordained
6 St. George Parish: Dedicated to
13 Viatorians Advancing Cristo Rey Model
14 Viatorian Community Growing in
7 Viatorian Youth Congress: Building
16 Around the Province
8 French Canadian Fest: Reinventing the
Provincial: Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV Editor: Fr. Thomas E. Long, CSV
Director of Communications: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Editorial Board: Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV Fr. Charles G. Bolser, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde CSV Eileen O’Grady Daday Associate Joan Sweeney
Layout and Design: Dianna Ehrenfried, Visualedge, Inc.
Viatorians Respond to the Las Vegas Tragedy In the aftermath of the shooting at the country music festival earlier this month, Las Vegas residents turned to their faith communities to help them deal with the pain and horror. And for many, that meant the two parishes run by Viatorians, home to nearly 9,000 families. St. Viator Catholic Community — started by Viatorians more than 60 years ago — is located on Flamingo Avenue, just three miles east of the Las Vegas strip. Many of its parishioners work in the hotels, so the tragedy hit close to home for its families. The morning after the shooting, when school children arrived, Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, who works as a school counselor there, immediately helped to gather students in the gym, where they prayed the rosary together. “The gym is usually a pretty boisterous place but it was eerily quiet,” Br. Robertson says. “The young students knew something tragic had happened in our city and their demeanor definitely showed that.” Mrs. Tracy Brunelle, principal, spent the day going from room to room checking to see how each class was doing. “We learned that a few of our young students were actually at the event with their parents and had witnessed the horrible tragedy,” Br. Robertson adds. “One young boy in the fourth grade relayed to his Children gathered to pray the rosary together. classmates that he had a guardian angel watching over him the night before.” That night, young people in the parish put together a candlelight Taizé prayer service in the church, which drew several hundred people. “The quiet reflective music was soothing as people slowly made their way to a cross that was placed in the front of the church,” Br. Robertson adds. “People knelt down and offered private prayers as the musicians chanted, ‘Oh, Lord, hear our prayer.’ “ One of St. Viator’s parishioners, and a Viatorian associate, Richard Hofacker, was among the first responders. He is a member of the Trauma Intervention Program of Southern Nevada, and he was on the ground working to inform family members that their loved ones had perished.
St. Viator Parish lit candles for the victims of the Las Vegas tragedy.
Meanwhile, St. Thomas More Catholic Community held a prayer service the night after the shooting, led by Fr. Dan Nolan, CSV, pastor. During the evening, they lit 59 candles and tolled the church bells 59 times to symbolize each person who had lost their life in the shooting. “To our knowledge, no one from our parish was injured,” Fr. Nolan said, “however several of our families had relatives who attended the concert or know people who were injured.” Fr. Nolan says he worried about the children. To help them process the tragedy, he has been meeting with groups of youngsters in the parish’s large religious education program. For its reputation as “Sin City,” Br. Robertson says he has found Las Vegas to be a very religious, compassionate and helpful city. “Its citizens come from all over the United States,” he says, “so people feel tremendous camaraderie with the city they have chosen to call home.” In response, people from Viatorian ministerial sites around the country began collecting donations and gift cards that were donated to local hospitals to give to family members who had flown in from all over the country to be with their wounded family members. “Through it all, we are praying,” Br. Robertson says. “We are praying for a world where light will overcome darkness. That is what our Lord promises us and we cannot give in to the evil that visits us here and wherever it occurs.”
By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Reflecting on 30 Years of Coeducation What goes around comes around for Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV. Some 30 years after he arrived at Saint Viator High School to oversee the merger with Sacred Heart of Mary High School into a new, coeducational school, he now returns in retirement as its chaplain. It’s a far cry from his arrival 30 years ago, when he came from the coeducational Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas to lead the transition, as principal and ultimately as president. The decision to merge came after both schools experienced declining enrollments beginning in the early 1980s, and the financial impact was threatening their very existence. In 1986, the Clerics of St. Viator and the Archdiocese of Chicago initiated a serious discussion of a merger.
For the first time, students enjoyed a coed lunch period
Following a thorough evaluation and countless meetings with all the constituencies of Sacred Heart of Mary and Saint Viator, an agreement was reached, and the new school opened in time for the 1987-88 school year.
However, it wasn’t a slam dunk. Administrators and faculty members of both schools had to reapply for positions in the new school, with the goal of having an equal number from both schools. Additionally, a new model of governance was created. A board of trustees was formed — Frank Covey served as its first president — whose members were charged with advancing the long-term growth and financial stability of the school as well as its religious mission. The trustees worked with the school president, who ultimately answered to the St. Viator Board of Governors, which consisted of the Viatorian Provincial and his four council members. According to Fr. Bolser, all decisions had to reflect the reality of coeducation — and the traditions of both schools. Students planned liturgies & prayer services together
“We did not just want the girls coming over into an all-boys’ school,” Fr. Bolser says. “We really worked at creating a brand new, coed culture. We thought of it as Fr. Charles Bolser officiates during Saint Viator’s first ring a new school.” ceremony, in 1988, a tradition brought over by Sacred Mrs. Judy Amberg, Heart of Mary students former assistant principal of Sacred Heart, confirmed that committees of the different constituencies — administrators, parents, alumni from both schools, faculty and elected students — met once a week to plan the transition. “When we finally came together, it was after a lot of thoughtful planning,” adds Mrs. Amberg, who credits Sacred Heart Principal Fran Harwas with helping to carry out the merger. Fran Harwas has fond memories of blending the two schools, even if bittersweet. “It was such a privilege to be a part of both cherishing the legacy of SHM and of creating the new coed Saint Viator by building on the solid foundation of the Viatorians and their staff,” Ms. Harwas said from her home in Ocala, FL. “There was so much heartache and sadness at that time in the Archdiocese over the many school closings, that I was determined to make it a happy time for all of us and to help our staff build a new and positive legacy for the future. “I remember many conversations and planning sessions with Fr. Bolser and Fr. (Patrick) Render to make sure we could make that happen,” she adds, “and it still brings me great joy to see how the results of our prayers and plans live on at Saint Viator.” The newly revitalized school opened with a robust enrollment of 1,010 students. A full slate of clubs and activities reemerged, with copresidents of each, as well as updated facilities.
A new vitality permeated the new, coeducational school
In keeping with the goal of providing a strong athletic program, Saint Viator officials worked to expand the East Suburban Catholic Conference to include boys — and girls — thus pulling the girls’ teams out of the Girls’ Catholic Athletic Conference.
“We really worked at trying to develop leadership opportunities for boys and girls,” Fr. Bolser adds. Ultimately, both Fr. Bolser and Mrs. Amberg agree that the success of the merger lies in its alumni, who love to come back and are sending their children to Saint Viator High School.
Just last year, 49 Sacred Heart alumnae had children attending Saint Viator, and among last year’s graduating class, 16 percent of them were children of alumni, split evenly between Saint Viator and Sacred Heart of Mary graduates. By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Examples of a longstanding history between Sacred Heart of Mary and Saint Viator high schools • Students from Sacred Heart of Mary attended school at Saint Viator the first two years (1961-63) while SHM was being built. • The annual Saint Viator musical brought students from both schools together. • Over the years, students took courses in varying subjects at each others’ schools - including French IV and art at SHM, math and physics at Saint Viator. • Activities were often planned or attended together at both the student and adult levels – such as homecoming, sock hops, athletic events and a substance abuse series. • Many families had children at both schools. At the time of the substance abuse series, just prior to the merger, one quarter of the families had someone attending both Sacred Heart of Mary and Saint Viator. • Fr. James Michaletz, CSV, served as superintendent of Sacred Heart of Mary from 1972-1975. • People at both schools have always been committed to providing the best possible education in an atmosphere of care and commitment based on Gospel values. • Both religious communities that founded the schools (Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and the Clerics of Saint Viator) have similar missions and were founded around the same time in France in nearby towns.
Initiatives that currently connect SHM alumnae with Saint Viator: • Joint revitalized SVHS/SHM Alumni Association • Publication of the SVHS/SHM Alumni Update, now A Lion for Life newsletter • Annual Alumni Memorial Mass for deceased alumnae/alumni from both schools • Recognition of alumni from both schools - Distinguished Alumni, Athletic Hall of Fame • Dedication of the Alumni Memorial Chapel with names of deceased alums from both SHM and SVHS on wall • Our Lady of the Moon statue moved from SHM to Saint Viator’s front entrance • Crucifix from Sacred Heart of Mary hangs in the hallway outside the Alumni Memorial Chapel - Ongoing efforts on the part of alumnae/alumni from both schools to raise money to ensure the experience they had will be provided for others • Number of legacy students continues to grow. In the 2008-2009 school year 13.4 percent of SVHS current students had a parent who graduated from Saint Viator or Sacred Heart of Mary. In 2016-17, 16 percent of the graduating class was legacy students. Compiled by Judith Amberg, former Assistant Principal of Sacred Heart and Alumni Relations Director at Saint Viator
St. George Parish: Dedicated to Young People More than 150 years after the death of the Viatorian founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, his memory — and vision — live on through new facilities named in his honor.
The building has four classrooms plus an office and youth ministry room, equipped with a large, flat screen TV, additional audiovisual equipment, as well as couches and chairs for youth group and Bible study meetings, and a meeting table that seats 16. Beyond religious education classes and youth ministry meetings, the building will host the St. George 4H and Boy Scout organizations as well as be available to the surrounding community. Already, the Hospice of Kankakee Valley used the space to hold a seminar. Each room is named after a saint — Viator, Francis, George, Mother Teresa and Raymond (after the cathedral in the Joliet Diocese).
The newly dedicated Father Querbes Youth Ministry Center
That was the case in September, when parishioners of St. George Parish in Bourbonnais, IL, dedicated their newest building: The Father Querbes Youth Ministry Center. “This 3,000 square foot building will provide desperately needed religious education classrooms,” says Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor, “along with designated youth ministry and office space.” He adds that over the last several years, St. George has experienced as much as 41 percent growth in religious education students. With limited space in the parish hall, the church community has had to close enrollment in three grade levels.
Local artists also contributed major art work to enhance the setting. Kankakee portrait artist, Libby Wasser, was commissioned to create a painting of Fr. Querbes, which greets guests as they enter the center. Likewise, another Kankakee artist, Bill Barnes, was commissioned to create a series of three abstract acrylic panels for teens to interpret in the youth ministry room, called Genesis 1:11, which mirror the creation stained glass windows in the chapel at the Province Center, commissioned more than 60 years ago.
“We know today that young people learn in far different ways than the way they did just ten years ago,” Fr. Belanger says. “Studies show that meeting young people where they are, and equipping them with opportunities and experiences leads to a more fulfilling faith journey, and will impact them both now and in the future.” The dedication came two years after the parish received a Fr. Dan Belanger, center, pastor, processes over renewable grant from the Viatorian Community to to dedicate the center with Fr. Mick Egan, right, enhance youth ministry programs. Parish families also provincial made monthly pledges to cover the remaining costs in a yearlong capital campaign.
In fact, the youth ministry center and its outreach to parish young people reflect the spirit of Fr. Querbes who instilled in Viatorians that they “minister to and with young people.” That commitment can been seen on their motto embossed on the Viatorian Community seal: “Let the little children come unto me.” By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Viatorian Youth Congress: Building Faith Leaders In late July, teenage delegates from most Viatorian ministry sites converged on the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL, for the 8th annual Viatorian Youth Congress. This four-day event was part retreat, part youth rally and part leadership conference. Quite simply, the Viatorian Youth Congress remains as vibrant as ever. Associate Karen Cutler returned this year as VYC director, Annie Nagle, a graduate of Saint Viator High School and senior at St. Norbert College, and Patrick Aller, a parishioner at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas and student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, served as the young adult coordinators of this year’s congress. They led a group of 10 college-aged leaders who represented the regions in the Province of Chicago; Arlington Heights/Chicago, Bourbonnais/Kankakee, and Henderson/Las Vegas in Nevada. Throughout the congress, teens discussed ways to deepen their Catholic faith, and they learned ways of how they can advance the Viatorian mission. They also met as delegations to discuss ways in which they could bring back what they had learned to their homes, schools and parishes. “(The youth congress) really impacted them,” said Associate Cathy Abrahamian of her delegation of 10 students from Saint Viator High School. “They came back with a renewed prayer life, and they even look at Mass differently.”
Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, prepares to celebrate Mass with delegates.
One of the highlights was learning about a top priority of Viatorians: fighting human trafficking in all its forms. Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV — who serves as the Viatorians’ coordinator of justice, peace and the integrity of creation — addressed the young people first, followed up by Associates Cathy Abrahamian and Juliann Dwyer.
Congress delegates opened every day with a prayer service
The presentation made such an impact on these young people that several delegates pledged to heighten awareness about human trafficking back at their parishes and schools. They also planned to organize a Mass or prayer service during January, which was designated in 2010 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In all, congress sessions immersed teens with nearly two dozen Viatorian associates, brothers and priests. The Viatorians served as presenters of prayer workshops and social justice initiatives, as delegation leaders and pastoral ministers and they were interviewed by the teenage delegates. Fr. Brost returned for his eighth consecutive year. He founded the congress back when he served as Viatorian vocations director. “The VYC helps our young faith leaders realize that they are part of a worldwide family,” Fr. Brost says, “that is changing the world.” By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Annie Nagle and Patrick Aller, coordinators of the youth congress
The teens learned just how pervasive the problem is. Each year more than 30 million people are trafficked. They also learned that trafficking is more than sexual exploitation, but that it is a form of modern day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to degrade their victims in numerous ways.
French Canadian Fest: Reinventing the Parish Picnic One of the core missions that drive the Viatorians is raising up communities “where the Faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.” The first annual French Canadian Fest at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Bourbonnais is just one of the many ways Viatorians carry out that mission. This first time event took place Sept. 9 and 10 on the parish grounds and drew more than 3,000 people, church officials estimate, including visitors from throughout the Joliet Diocese. “It was a huge success,” says Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor. “It was something of an experiment to see how it would go, but it turned out to be far bigger than we ever imagined.”
A mime converses with guests at the French Canadian Fest
It was Fr. Pighini who helped pick out the event’s logo and branding, that seemed to capture a lot of attention: a fleur-de-lis. The distinctive symbol appears on the Quebec flag and has grown to symbolize the French presence in North America.
A juggler, mime and French chef offered a French twist to the fest
Going into the inaugural event, parish organizers just hoped to revitalize the parish picnic. Yet, by tapping into their rich heritage they struck a chord with parishioners and visitors from throughout the region. The church — and the city of Bourbonnais — was founded by French Canadian settlers back in the 19th century, before the Civil War.
Viatorians came to the parish in 1865 from Canada, at the request of the local bishop, who needed an order of priests and brothers to teach French speaking children at the school and to minister to the French Canadian settlers. “There is a great deal of history here,” Fr. Pighini added. “Even the church was built on the property of one of the original French Canadian settlers.” Guests enjoyed perusing the goods offered by nearly 40 vendors at the open air French market, while eating the Fre n c h - t h e m e d food, ranging from meat pie, quiche Br. John Eustice, CSV, right, calls out numbers in Bingo! and beef bourguignon, to French dip sandwiches and French pastries created by the Sisters of the Fraternite of Notre Dame from St. Roger Abbey in Wilmette. Guests also enjoyed mingling with a mime, a woman dressed as a French chef — on stilts — and a Parisian juggler. They also had the chance to explore their French Canadian roots with members of Sisters of the Fraternite of Notre Dame sold their pastries the Genealogical Society and the Bourbonnais Historical Society. Many guests also took advantage of taking self-guided tours of the historic Maternity BVM Church, its grotto and cemetery, where they found the graves of some of the Viatorians who have served the parish for more than 150 years. “The festival really energized our whole parish,” says Julie Worby, development director and fest coordinator. “We’ve had many wonderful comments about it since it wrapped up.”
By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Q & A Meet Associate Juliann Dwyer This fall, Associate Juliann Dwyer started her 29th year in the Religious Education Program at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nevada. Viatorians started the parish in 1984 and it has grown to be one of the largest in Southern Nevada, with approximately 6,700 families. By extension, its REP program is large, too, both with registered children and catechists. The vibrant parish also offers a Life Teen program, run by Juliann’s son, Stephen and his wife, Amanda; and the More Youth Program run by Dorothy Distel. We caught up with Juliann recently to learn more about her role. Associate Juliann Dwyer leads a delegation of young people from St. Thomas More Catholic Community to the Viatorian Youth Congress
Just how large is the Religious Education Program at St. Thomas More — and about how many volunteers does it take to serve that many children?
We are still registering students but so far we have nearly 1,000 students registered in all of the programs. There are 114 Catechists, 35 More Youth Core Team Members, and 37 Life Teen Core Team Members. I serve as Director of Religious Education and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children.
As director of the program, you must meet with these families. Can you tell us a little about that responsibility and how you welcome them?
I have the opportunity to meet the families through oneon-one interviews. Perhaps one of my greatest joys is to empower families to feel at ease talking about their faith life and their religious experiences. We focus on how we experience God in our everyday lives and what does our faith mean to us in the everyday world. Through the RCIC process, I have the pleasure of working with the parents of the children in the program. We break open the Sunday Scripture readings to explore how they speak to us and lead us to live a faith-filled life. Not only do I see a conversion of the children and teens in this process, I see a conversion of parents and grandparents who are have to be here, but in the end, say the process was well worth their time each week.
Q . A.
Does your commitment as a Viatorian Associate come up as you deal with these families?
Q . A.
Can you give us a little background on how you came to be an associate? I have been a member of St. Thomas More since 1986. I was involved in REP since 1988, first as a catechist, then as a coordinator before Fr. Dan Nolan asked me to take the position as Director of Religious Education. Through my work and involvement with the Viatorian priests at St. Thomas More, I felt as if I was a Viatorian, but without the official title of associate. In 2008, Br. John Eustice asked me why I wasn’t an associate. I answered, “Because I was never asked.” He invited me to submit my letter requesting pre-association. I made my first commitment in September of 2009.
Q . A.
W hat keeps you so committed to St. Thomas More and its families?
That’s an easy one. I love this community and I love what I do. This quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta is so true in my life: “Sometimes I feel so helpless and so weak I think this is why God uses me. Because I cannot depend on my own strength, I rely on him 24 hours a day.”
The core principal of the Viatorian Community is to educate young people and take an active role in their faith formation. This is exactly what I do each day. Families are very busy these days, which means it is so important to listen to their needs and see how I can help in their faith formation through the programs we offer.
Provincial Assembly: Educating Viatorians What do members of the Viatorian Community and a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois have in common? They came face-to-face in June, during the annual Viatorian Provincial Assembly, where the Hon. Virginia M. Kendall was the keynote speaker. Her topic? Human trafficking. Judge Kendall is a noted expert on the subject after coordinating child exploitation and trafficking cases as a federal prosecutor. She also works to train lawyers and other judges on the scope of the crime and its complexities. Judge Kendall made her presentation to the Viatorians one year after speaking out against trafficking at the Vatican, during a judges’ summit. In all, approximately 80 associates, brothers and priests converged on Saint Viator High School for the assembly. The three-day assembly began every day with a prayer session and closed each day with a liturgy. A highlight was featuring the jubilees of Fr. William Mayer, CSV, and Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, celebrating 70 years and 50 years of religious life, respectively. Right from the start of the daily sessions, however, Viatorians approached it as more than a social gathering. With Judge Kendall’s help, they addressed human trafficking, which is one of four social justice issues that the Viatorian Community has made its priorities.
The Hon. Virginia M. Kendall educates members of the Viatorian Community about the scope of human trafficking in this country.
Judge Kendall described trafficking as more than sexual exploitation. It is a form of modern day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims. “More than 32 million individuals are trafficked each year,” Judge Kendall said, “and the profits are in the billions.”
Fr. Mark Francis makes a point during one of the sessions at the Provincial Assembly.
Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will. While more research is needed on the scope of human trafficking, below are a few key statistics:
Fr. Richard Rinn celebrated his 50th jubilee as a religious.
• The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
She described the scope of trafficking to be a global human rights violation and she urged Viatorians to work proactively to eliminate this type of modern day slavery in all its forms.
• 68 percent of them are trapped in forced labor.
• 26 percent of them are children.
• 55 percent are women and girls.
• The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry world- wide. • The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 139 goods from 75 countries made by forced and child labor. • In 2016, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.
The Assembly is a time for reflection and renewal as seen here with Associate Jackie Dupon and Fr. Michael Keliher taking a moment to catch up.
• Of those, 86 percent were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.
“The pervasiveness of this problem is so overwhelming that we have a moral obligation to respond,” said Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, president of Catholic Theological Union.
Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, echoed the thoughts of many when he said how upsetting it was to see images of children involved in sexual and labor trafficking.
(Facts compiled by Polaris, a Washington-based organization and leader
“We cannot let this issue rest,” he said. “The ones that we’re responsible for in our schools — our students — are at risk.” By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery)
Newest Viatorian Priest Ordained More than 50 years after Viatorians first arrived as missionaries in Colombia, vocations to the Viatorian Community there continue to grow. Fr. Fredy Contreras, CSV, a native of Tunja, Colombia, is the latest Viatorian priest to be ordained and his ordination comes nine years after he first entered the community. “For the Colombian community, the ordination of Fr. Fredy means a step forward in the task that we as Viatorians have,” said Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, “which is to spread the charism of Fr. Louis Querbes in parishes, but especially in our two schools, where we are called to infuse students with the love and adoration of Jesus.” The ordination took place Aug. 5 at St. Francis Church in Tunja, where Fr. Contreras grew up. Friends and family came from near and afar to witness his ordination, including people from Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, where Fr. Contreras led the middle school program, as well as from Saint John Vianney Parish in Bogotá, where he also lived the last eight years, helping out in pastoral ministry. Fr. Fredy Contreras, CSV, speaks to the crowd during his first Mass.
Fr. Fredy Contreras, center, after his ordination, surrounded by his fellow Viatorians in Colombia
Well-wishers also came from the Colegio San Viator in Tunja where he now works, plus his relatives and friends living in Tunja. “The church was packed,” Fr. Herrera adds. Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez ordained Fr. Contreras. He is bishop of the Diocese of Duitama -Sogamoso, located just north of Tunja. Bishop Vaca ordained Fr. Contreras as a deacon just last year. Fr. Contreras is a graduate of the Universidad de San Buenaventura in Bogotá. He took his first vows as a Viatorian in 2008 and began working at the Viatorians’ first school, Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. He eventually took over as director of its middle school program and guided it through an assessment with the International Baccalaureate Program, while earning a master’s degree in theology. Br. Juan Carlos Ubaque, left, presents Fr. Fredy to the bishop before the ordination
Currently, he is working with Br. Juan Carlos Ubaque, CSV, in campus ministry at Colegio San Viator in Tunja, where he will help prepare the school and its curriculum for acceptance into the prestigious IB Program. “The presence of Fr. Fredy in Colegio San Viator, Tunja is a precious one,” Fr. Herrera adds. “As a priest, he will impact the entire school community: students, teachers, staff and of course, parents.” By: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Viatorians Advancing Cristo Rey Model A decision made more than 20 years ago by the Jesuits to begin a new model of education — the Cristo Rey Network — continues to drive the Viatorian Community. Viatorians embraced the Cristo Rey philosophy so much, they now are in the process of developing a new school — Cristo Rey Saint Viator Las Vegas — after endorsing Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, IL since its inception, more than one dozen years ago. The Clerics of Saint Viator have accepted full responsibility for the ownership of this new school. Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, has assumed leadership in the creation and development of Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, talks to students during the early years of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep. this project. Once again, we are challenged and excited about the possibilities that we face. We are attempting to recognize the needs of young people with limited means, to help them meet the challenges of the 21st Century, head on. Graduates of the class of 2017 from Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
Here’s how our commitment came about.
It was in 1996, that the Jesuits asked Fr. John Foley, S.J., to begin offering students from low income families the opportunity to develop their academic potential. In brainstorming to figure out how they would afford it, Fr. Foley and others turned to corporate partners and wound up creating their innovative work study program, where students would work one day a week in a corporate environment to help fund their tuition. In this new model, corporate personnel became trained to serve as mentors, as each school and corporation became active partners in the learning process and consequently would make a significant impact on the lives of the students and their families. The first one, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, opened in Chicago in 1996 and it set the bar for subsequent schools in the Cristo Rey model. The Viatorians became involved in 2003, when Bishop George Rassas (then pastor of St. Mary Parish in Lake Forest) and several parish leaders approached the Viatorians and other religious communities to help create a Catholic school in the Cristo Rey model in Waukegan. This school would offer a strong, college preparatory curriculum, integrated with relevant work study experience, and serve students with limited income from the Waukegan Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, worked with students at CRSM as a social worker and North Chicago region. Following much discussion, the Viatorian Community agreed to assist in the growth of this exciting venture. We agreed to act as endorsers, serve as members of the board of trustees and provide faculty, administrative and financial leadership. Today, the Clerics of Saint Viator, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa continue to act as endorsing communities.
Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, right, appears with (L-R) Fr. John Foley, S.J., John Killduff, and Las Vegas Bishop Joseph Pepe at a news conference last year announcing the new Cristo Rey St. Viator Las Vegas.
It’s a model that is growing. Currently, the Cristo Rey Network comprises 31 Catholic, college preparatory schools that serve more than 10,000 students across 21 states and the District of Colombia. By: Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV
Viatorian Community Growing in Numbers Querbes Day took many forms around the world, as Viatorians observed the memorial of their founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, on the date his death, Sept. 1. However, in the Henderson/Las Vegas region, Viatorians celebrated his vision by affirming the commitments of five new Viatorian associates, as well as the recommitments of three more.
“His quest speaks to me on the levels of being a Catholic, a woman, a physician, a daughter, wife and mother.”
Here is a brief look at the newest Viatorians:
Associate Lisa Faiweather
Associate Anthony Gugino
Associate Megan Miller Landis
Lisa Fairweather is the director of music and liturgy at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, and after nearly 20 years of working with Viatorians, she made her commitment official by joining them as an associate. “My love for the ministry of music began with the Viatorians,” Lisa says, “and I look forward to being a greater part of this community through association.” Anthony Gugino coordinates music for the teen liturgy at St. Viator Catholic Community, where he also works in campus ministry with young people. He attended St. Viator School and grew deeper involved in the Viatorian mission through his involvement every year at the Viatorian Youth Congress. “My hope is to draw young people closer to the Viatorian Community, our mission and their faith through my work as a Viatorian associate.” Megan Miller Landis is a naturopathic physician, with her own wellness practice in Las Vegas. Megan describes herself as a “second generation Viatorian,” since both of her parents, Dan and Mary Jane Miller committed themselves as associates. “Fr. Querbes’ mission has made an influential mark on my life and my faith development,” she says
Associate Deborah Perez
Associate Romeo Perez
Romeo and Deborah Perez moved to Las Vegas from South Texas in 2005, and they say they found a feeling of home once they joined St. Viator Catholic Community. Romeo is a family law attorney and Deborah divides her time between assisting in his office and serving as a substitute teacher at St. Viator School. Viatorian Associates Paul and Rosy Hartz invited the Perez couple to become associates and with their mentorship, Romeo and Deborah completed the two-year discernment program. “We have come to be a part of a great community,” Deborah says, “and we hope to serve the community with our time, talent and treasure.”
Associates Lisa Fairweather, Anthony Gugino, Megan Landis, Deborah and Romeo Perez make their first commitments as associates
Joining them at the commitment ceremony were Associates Sonja Brouwers, John Keating and Don Wells, who re-committed themselves as associates, for a period of three years.
Sonja teaches kindergarten at the nearby Pinecrest Academy in Henderson, but she also is an active volunteer at St. Viator Parish, welcoming new members and helping with school ministries. John Keating attended St. Viator School as a youngster and now, as an adult and a practicing attorney, he is actively giving back to his home parish. John helps train young lectors and he also participates in the parishâ€™s campus ministry program. Don Wells is an active parishioner at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, where he serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister and RCIA sponsor. He adds First row, (L-R) Associates Megan Landis, Anthony Gugino, Lisa Fairweather, Deborah and Romeo that he appreciates the many opportunities to grow in Perez. Second row, (L-R) John Keating, Sonja Brouwers and Don Wells. faith as a Viatorian associate. By: Eileen Oâ€™Grady Daday
Associate Sonja Brouwers
Associate John Keating
Associate Don Wells
The number of Viatorian associates, brothers and priests in the Henderson/Las Vegas region is growing.
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Newsletter – Fall 2017
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Around the Province... The Saint Viator Sacred Heart of Mary Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony took place Sept. 16 and it had a definite Viatorian spin to it. Among the many deserving inductees were two Viatorians themselves, Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, and Br. Peter Lamick, CSV. Turns Fr. Dan Hall tries to console then senior, Peter out both were part of the Lamick, in 2006 after a tough loss. 2006 Saint Viator football team that finished with a 9-2 record and was named co-champions of the East Suburban Catholic Conference. The team advanced to the second round of the playoffs before suffering a crushing loss, 40-37, to Batavia High School. However, the loss didn’t keep them down for long. Both Br. Peter and Fr. Hall continue to be a part of the Lions’ football program, as coaches. What goes around, comes around for Fr. Daniel Nolan, CSV. The Las Vegas native returned in July to the place where he first served as pastor, St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nevada. Fr. Nolan returned to the parish where he had served from 1993-2001, as its second pastor following Fr. Thomas Long, CSV, founding pastor. During his years as pastor, Fr. Nolan spearheaded the campaign to Fr. Daniel Nolan, CSV build the present church. In returning, he followed Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, who had served at the parish for four years before being elected provincial superior.
Fr. Mark Francis accepts a partnership award from Sr. JoAnn Persch, RSM, co-founder of ICDI.
Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, accepted an award last month on behalf of the Viatorian Community from the Interfaith Committee on Detained Immigrants. The
Viatorians were one of four organizations honored for their active partnership with the committee since its inception 10 years ago. Also attending the event were Fr. Thomas Long, CSV, Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, and Associates Timothy Schwarz and Linda Nishi. It was a busy two weeks in September for Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, superior general of the Viatorians. He and two members of his council, Br. Carlos Flórez, CSV, and Fr. Harry Célestin, CSV, visited the places where ViaAssociates Susan and David Surprenant, left, welcome Br. Carlos Flórez, Fr. Alain Ambeault and torians minister in this Fr. Harry Célestin to their farm in Bourbonnais. country. From Saint Viator High School and the retirement wing of the Province Center, to visiting the Viatorian parishes in Bourbonnais and Kankakee, to St. Viator Parish in Chicago and finally the two Viatorian-led parishes in the Las Vegas area; they hit them all. During each visit, Fr. Ambeault said he wanted to absorb as much as he could about the reality and vibrancy of Viatorian ministry in the United States. Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, said the key to last month’s French Canadian Fest at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais was highlighting the community’s heritage. Underscoring that were some of the hottest raffle prizes of the day: sun-catchers made out of stained glass. It turns out that they had been created by a local artist, Daniel Kirsch, out of remnants from one of the parish’s historic stained Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV glass windows blown out by a tornado in 1963 and saved by the late Viatorian Associate Mush Marcotte.