Volume 18, No. 2
Historic Bourbonnais Parish Soars with New Life
Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church is the largest in the Kankakee/Bourbonnais area — and the oldest. Viatorians have served there since Gospel of Matthew Drives the Civil War and consequently, it is considered to Belize Volunteers be the community’s flagship parish. Page 3
All of which prompted its pastor, Fr. Richard Bourbonnais Volunteers Pighini, CSV, to give it a facelift last spring. With Petal It Forward the help of private donations and expertise from Page 4-5 Daprato Rigali Studios in Chicago, one of the Four Viatorians Celebrate leading experts in church renovation, the parish 50 Years of Religious took on a dramatic new look. Life in 2012 “IFr. Perham, wantedCSV, to celebrates retain its dignity — and its character,” Fr. Pighini says. “I didn’t want to his 65th Anniversary of Religious make it Lifes some Byzantine basilica or anything, but PageI6 wanted to respect its original French colonial design. Q & A With Bart Higsen “It been repainted in nearly 18 years, so Pagehadn’t 7 itFrom needed it,” he adds. “Plus, I thought with the the Archives… right color, this little gem of a French Canadian A Timely New Acquisition church, could really shine.” Page 8 644 Thanksgiving
Fr. Pighini worked with a committee of parishioners to come up with the color scheme Meals Delivered to and preliminary designs, thoughe brought the Homebound Seniors in t original vision: He had remembered visiting he Las Vegas Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, and its Page 9 dramatic design scheme that combined blue In the Footsteps of and gold. Our Founder The committee agreed, and the first component Page 10-11 of theirUnion planofwas to convert the church’s vaulted Latino Chicago barrel ceiling into a starry night. Marie Segal, 1929-2012 “With the deep blue color and stars, it’s Page 12-13 brought warmth to the church,” says Around themore Province... ElizabethRigali-Galvin, art director and Page 14 great-granddaughter of the founder of the Viatorians Launch historic Chicago studio. “I think the whole effect New Website accentuates the sanctuary and bring the focus to Page 15 the altar.” Destination: the Viatorian
Another element in their skyscape was there all Province Center in along — Heights medallions. They only needed to unveil Arlington them. For years, they had been painted white, Continued on Page 5...
Mission Trip in Belize: Not Just for Students Anymore in meeting the needs of parishioners in 23 surrounding villages. “There is much work to be done, but our main goal is to build community with the parishioners and people in the villages,” said Natalie Eustice, a retired school teacher, before the group left. “We hope to gain a spiritual connectedness to the people of Belize, as we work together.” Their community at St. Thomas More helped to fundraise for their trip and supported them in prayer while they were gone. It turned out to be a busy — but exhilarating — week. They met first with students at Chunox St. Viator High School, working with teachers and students to improve English reading and writing skills. They also helped to finish building a house, by firming up its concrete frame.
They came from all walks of life, with experience in marketing and accounting, as well as teaching, flying and even auto mechanics. In all, a group of 10 adults from St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nevada traveled to Belize last spring, and this much they knew: They wanted to do more than sightsee. They wanted to dig in and help.
Not everything they did was manual labor. They also drew on their accounting experience to help Br. John with his bookkeeping work at the parish, and spent time visiting the Mayan ruins.
Admittedly, they had a connection: Bob and Natalie Eustice led the group. Their son is Br. John Eustice CSV, who serves as superior of the Viatorian mission at St. Francis Xavier Parish. He works with Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, and Viatorian associates,
One memorable day, they traveled to Fireburn Village, the most remote place in the mission. It took three hours just to get there, riding two ferries, driving along bumpy dirt roads, taking a boat trip across a lagoon, and walking on board planks and a dirt track.
St. Viator Parish Takes Root in Bogota section of the city. Interestingly, its boundaries encompass many religious schools and other religious communities. This new church will offer thousands of people the opportunity to attend Mass, celebrate the sacraments, and join in catechetical classes in their own neighborhood for the first time in their lives. The project went forward, in part, because of the generous response to last fall’s Partners in Mission campaign, which raised more than $24,000 in gifts and donations from nearly 300 Viatorians supporters. “This is an exciting endeavor,” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, “to be able to build a new church and classrooms, where thousands of young Catholic girls and boys will have a place to learn about their faith and celebrate the sacraments with their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.” Viatorians in Colombia took a lead set back in the 19th century by their founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, when they branched out recently to establish a new parochial ministry, St. Viator Parish in Bogotá. In doing so, they join several other parishes around the world with the same name — that Viatorians staff.
Fr. Edgar Suarez, CSV, celebrated the first Eucharistic celebration on Oct. 4 in a tent and since then, the parish has grown to approximately 300 families. “The laity is very enthusiastic,” Fr. Edgar said, “and families are taking ownership of the parish.”
The new St. Viator Parish, located on the north side of Bogotá and directly behind Colegio San Viator, serves a rapidly growing www.viatorians.com
Currently, three Masses are celebrated each weekend, two in a 2
Their trek was worth it. Once they arrived, it seemed as if they had stepped back in time, finding the tiny village dotted with thatched roof houses and less than 100 people living there. “This is like stepping into the pages of my grade school geography book or into a TV documentary about some remote place almost never seen by modern civilization,” Natalie Eustice says. “The amazing thing is that we can communicate because they speak English.”
They painted the inside of the village’s only schoolhouse, while two of the volunteers tutored the school’s six students outdoors, under the trees. Rounding out their visit, they visited with families and invited them for a Communion service. “I have seldom seen such happy, calm people,” Natlie Eustice adds. Their final project was working with local contractors to build a “pigery”to house the student’s hog operation as part of their hands-on, animal husbandry education. “All these adults come from a wide variety of experiences, but share a common faith in Jesus,” Br. John says. “They came to rub elbows with others and have a real cultural exchange.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
tent and one in a rented hall. Although the surroundings are a 3 “There is a real pioneering spirit about www.viatorians.com it,” Fr. Suarez says, “as 3 bit unusual, Fr. Edgar describes the liturgies are “alive and people are gathering together with a vision of creating something spirit-filled.” lasting. Fr. Suarez is a Colombia native and former teacher and chaplain at the Colegio. Most recently, he served as pastor at the nearby San Basilio Magno parish, but the prospect of Viatorians having their own parish, named for their patron saint, is exciting.
“The community is growing and the spirit within the community is deepening,” he adds. “Someday in the future they will have their own church, which will serve as a testimony to their dedication, that was planted and nourished by the Holy Spirit.” Fr. Thomas Long, CSV
Viatorians’ Vocation Office: Manifesting a Spirit of Availability Viatorian spirituality — what Fr. Querbes called “a lively and enlightened faith” — is manifested in what we call “a spirit of availability.” Spiritual availability invites us to recognize God’s presence in all circumstances of life as a means to enliven and increase our faith. In practice, being spiritually available impels us to seek out relationships with young people in hopes of accompanying them as they realize, cultivate and respond to God’s call. Viatorians do this as elementary school teachers, high school counselors, parish priests, coaches and as youth ministers. Both the Viatorian Youth Congress and the Belize Immersion Program are expressions of this spirituality. Both are rooted in a desire to remind young people that they are connected to a community committed to helping them grow in faith and holiness and that they belong in the Viatorian Community.
Near the end of our first retreat for young adults, one of the quieter members in the group, John, raised his hand. “I have a question for you,” he said. “What does the church plan to do with people like us?”
During the Viatorian Youth Congress we ask delegates to share with one another how their faith is shaped by their Viatorian identity. Participants invariably speak of how they learned the importance of caring for “those accounted of little or no importance” as a direct result of a friendship with a Viatorian.
I asked him to clarify. “We aren’t little kids preparing for confirmation and we don’t go to church to make our parents happy,” John said. “We go to church because we want community and no one seems to know what to do with us.”
In the Belize Immersion Program, young adults witness their own Viatorian spirituality active in a culture different from their own.
John is certainly not alone. Most of the young adults with whom I serve are looking for something transcendent to give meaning to their lives. They want to connect their hopes to others and they want to belong to a community that takes their questions seriously.
One young man remarked, “Viatorians in Belize are just like the ones who taught me in Arlington Heights. They wake up with one purpose: to help young people fall in love with God.”
These two impulses — to connect and to belong — are nothing new in the history of the church. Nor is the impulse to respond to young people something new for the Viatorians.
Returning to John from the story above, I am proud to share that he now is part of small group we are working with to prepare a series of retreats for young adults in the Chicago area. John is connected to the Viatorians. Please pray with me that John — and young people like him — will find a place to belong among the Viatorians. Eileen O’Grady Daday
“Walking into a Future of Great Promise” pastor of St. Viator Church in Chicago, now finishing up eight years as president of Saint Viator High School. Fr. Hall, a former Marine, helped establish the mission in Belize before serving as a military chaplain and now teaching social studies at Saint Viator High School. Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, superior general, moderated the election, which drew Viatorians from across the country as well as from Belize and Colombia. “This is an important day in life of the Viatorian community of Chicago,” Fr. Ambeault said. “You have expressed your choice and entrusted the service of the community to them, a service that is both pastoral and governmental for the province.” Fr. von Behren is the community’s 16th provincial, after first being elected in 2005. Only Fr. Kenneth Morris, CSV, There was no white smoke, but Viatorian Historic brothersBourbonnais and priests Parish who was elected to three successive terms as provincial, and gathered in conclave last spring to elect Soars their provincial just with New Life the community’s first provincial, Fr. Cyrille Fournier, served the same. longer. In the years when provincials were appointed, Unlike the recent papal election, their votes determined the leader in one vote: Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, was overwhelmingly re-elected to another four-year term. He is only the second provincial to be elected to a third successive term.
Fr. Fournier served 22 years, leading the growing community from 1882-1900 and again from 1904-1908. In accepting the role, Fr. von Behren remains pastoral leader of the Viatorian community’s 175 associates, brothers and priests, serving in this country and in foundations in Belize and Colombia.
“I am honored,” he told his confreres. “It is with great humility that I accept your election and your support for a third term as your provincial.”
“I believe we have a wonderful future together,” Fr. von Behren told his confreres, “and that we have the resources and the personnel to continue to make a difference in our world and in our church.
Viatorians also elected two councilors to assist Fr. von Behren in leading the province: Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, and Fr. Dan Hall, CSV. Both bring strong backgrounds to the role. Fr. Egan is a past provincial and
“We simply need to be bold,” he added, “and say ‘yes,’ walking into a future of great promise.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
Historic Bourbonnais Parish Soars with New Life... Continued from Page 5...
but with the new scheme they were painted bronze with gold embellishments, which added a rich texture to the overall look. “We didn’t change any of the architecture,” Fr. Pighini says. “Everything we did was with color and texture.” The ceiling and hand-stenciled back wall took one month to complete. Daprato Rigali artists erected their scaffolds and worked to transform the ceiling and carefully apply their subtle handiwork to the wall behind the altar, stenciling a fleur-del-lis pattern. The ancient symbol dates back to the French monarchy, and subtly connects worshipers with the Viatorians’ French heritage. Through the ages, the fleur-de-lis also has represented purity and chastity and serves as an iconic attribute of the Virgin Mary, which fits with the parish’s name. “Everyone is just thrilled with the way it’s turned out — and the way it’s made our stained glass windows stand out,” says Teresa Culver, parish secretary. “We’re just so grateful for Fr. Pighini’s vision that has made the painting of the church so spectacular.” Fr. Pighini admits to having the vision, but it was the parish’s visibility in the area that drove him. “This is a historic place,” Fr. Pighini says simply, “and I wanted to preserve it as such.” 5
Eileen O’Grady Daday www.viatorians.com
with Connor Romenesko
Connor Romenesko graduated from Saint Viator High School in 2011 and headed to college, but his involvement with the Viatorians didn’t stop there. If anything, it strengthened. He was among the first delegates to the Viatorian Youth Congress and then returned last year as a young adult leader. Connor also traveled on the first Belize Immersion trip in December 2012. This summer, the college sophomore returns to Belize, to spend two months at the Viatorian mission in Belize, working alongside Viatorian associates and professed. We caught up with him at St. Norbert College in DuPere, Wisconsin, where he recently celebrated his sophomore year, to reflect on his deepening commitment to the Viatorian charism.
Q. What do you expect to be doing there? A. I know I will be helping to coordinate the Belize
Tell me how you came to be so involved with the Viatorians.
A. While at Saint Viator High School I was exposed to the
Immersion Trip at the beginning of June and working with the partners in Belize to make sure it is a positive experience for the participants. After that, I will be working with a youth minister on service projects in the area. I also will have the opportunity to work in some local schools and even, possibly, lead sports camps for some of the local students.
mission of the Viatorians and there were pieces that strongly appealed to me. I am passionate about working with youth and education, which is emphasized in the mission and that made it easy to connect myself with the Viatorians.
Q. Was there something specific during your time as a
Q. What are your expectations? A. I am expecting to have an incredibly positive experience,
delegate to the Viatorian Youth Congress or in the Belize Immersion Program that propelled you to get involved even more?
while still leaving time for personal reflection. Mostly, I want to develop my skills in ministering with young people through service, and I’m also hoping to improve my Spanish.
A. Last summer I was able to work with young people during my time in Belize as well as during the Viatorian Youth Congress. During the Youth Congress I served as a young adult leader and absolutely loved it. Through that experience I discovered a passion for leading young people in ministry as well as in service.
Q. Can you tell me a little about your life at St. Norbert’s? What are you studying?
I am a sophomore at St. Norbert College, studying political science, international studies, and peace and justice studies. I am active in several aspects of campus life including interning in the Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice, and public understanding, serving as president of my fraternity (Phi Delta Theta), taking part in an on campus interfaith dialogue group, and as a participant in the college’s TRIPS program that takes students on service trips internationally and around the U.S.
Q. What was it about this new
internship — working with the Viatorians in Belize — that drew your interest?
have always enjoyed the time I have spent with the Viatorians, so simply the fact that I would have an opportunity to work with them was appealing. I also was drawn to the fact that I will have the opportunity to shape my own experience in Belize and be able to get the most out of my summer internship.
Q. Has your experience with the Viatorians influenced your college life?
The Viatorians have had a major impact on my college life. My time on campus has involved doing service and working for justice. This passion was sparked by Fr. Corey Brost during my freshman religion class at Saint Viator and the Viatorians have been helping me pursue this passion to this day. 6
In the Footsteps of Our Founder... Organizing the Novitiate Upon his return from Rome, Father Louis Querbes recognized that his first priority was to organize the novitiate. The first decision was where? Vourles was the natural choice. But where in Vourles? The canonical requirement for “separate housing” posed a challenge.
Gracious God, be forever blest for your gift in Fr. Louis Querbes, dedicated pastor in the education of youth, and in the service of sacred liturgy, and founder of the Viatorian Community.
The property which Fr. Querbes acquired in 1832 was “a collection of small diversified buildings without accommodation or unity” according to his biographer, Fr. Pierre Robert (From this Root, p. 182). So a series of decisions were necessary. Fr. Querbes, in his new role as superior general, was prepared to make those decisions. The little boarding school or college at Vourles was closed. The house for aspirants (postulants) at Le Payet was closed and sold. Postulants transferred to Vourles to be near the novitiate. Decisions were made about construction. “Fr. Querbes consolidated shaky walls, joined them, transformed them and raised them in a way to make them an almost homogeneous whole. He contrived two rooms for himself, to serve as office, library and bedroom. In the center he reserved room for a modest chapel.” (Robert, p. 182) Fr. Querbes returned from Rome October 13, 1838; the remodeling was finished in April 1839. Only the official appointment of the master of novices remained to be done. Fr. Querbes, in his mind, had chosen Br. Liautlaud, the director of the parish school in Panisssieres, for “his age, experience, virtues and the confidence and esteem he enjoyed among his confreres.” Fr. Querbes had already discussed this possibility with the community retreat master, Fr. Brumauld S.J., who concurred with the choice. Fr. Brumauld was approved by his Jesuit superiors to guide the first Viatorian novitiate and was designated as novice master. Without revealing his plans, Fr. Querbes sent Br. Liauthaud to Avignon to begin the long Jesuit retreat. Any premonition Brother might have had about his future assignment was confirmed when Fr. Brumuld arrived after the four-week retreat. He brought documents about forming novices, along with lessons devoted to developing interior and exterior direction for daily religious life. Br. Liauthaud returned on May 15 to Vourles, where Fr Querbes announced his appointment as director of novices. The solemn inauguration of the novitiate began on June 9, 1839, the feast of the Sacred Heart, after a novena preached by Fr. Brumauld. Fr. Querbes now could truly say, “Adored and Loved be Jesus”. Br. Leo Ryan, CSV
A Ministry of Accompaniment: the Pastoral Migratoria Program A growing ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago — that serves as a national model to support undocumented and documented immigrants — now is taking root at St. Viator Parish in Chicago: the pastoral migratoria program.
Sergio mentioned that a domestic violence victim may think she has no recourse because she is undocumented. Utilizing the trust between the ministers and congregation, members can point her to groups that will intervene on her behalf and give her the help she needs.
The same holds true with a person struggling with alcohol addiction or a worker who has been exploited by the employer. Many young adults were brought here as young children and can now qualify for It is run through the Office deferred action. Ministers can refer them to lawyers who specialize of Immigration Affairs and Immigration Education at the arch- in that work. diocese, and succeeds in part because of its one-to-one ministry, or Health issues are a major concern since the vast majority of the immigrant to immigrant. undocumented are uninsured. Thus, the St. Viator ministers have
“It’s a ministry of leadership,” says William Becerra, pastoral joined with volunteers from eight other parishes to conduct a health organizer for the diocese. “You have to be connected to the parish. fair where families received a complete medical exam and diagnosis It’s a ministry based on local needs.” for specific problems. Becerra is involved in the training and commissioning of parish volunteers. Currently, there are 50 active pastoral migratoria programs in Chicago and its suburbs. The St. Viator program is among the newest, with Sergio Olmos and other volunteers being commissioned in the ministry, in February.
“The pastoral migratoria program grew out of necessity,” Becerra says. “Within the Archdiocese of Chicago, immigrants make up 42 percent of its Catholic members. So, it makes sense to have a ministry that is parish-centered, but also carries out social justice.” The members also bring their work to the political arena. St. Viator parishioners participated in a huge march in Chicago on May 1 that demanded comprehensive immigration reform.
As lay people, they were trained how to reach out to undocumented immigrants, by providing them with information, as well as listen to their struggles and support them in their spiritual journeys. The ministers at St. Viator include Enrique Valdovinos, Onofre Reyes, Leoncio Abarca, Antonio Gallegos, Wendy Robles and Sergio Olmos.
“The ministers helped distribute and collect postcards to send to legislators demanding immigration reform” Enrique Valdovinos said. After the cards were collected, people from parishes throughout the archdiocese marched to Holy Family Parish in Chicago on “As a one-to-one May 30 where Cardinal George met them, led a prayer service, ministry, a trust and received the postcards that were immediately delivered to level develops, Washington, DC. leading them to “You have to be in solidarity with people who have been affected by address various immigration issues,” Becerra says. “This ministry accompanies these problems,” Sergio families in this situation, both practically and spiritually.” Olmos stated. Fr. Thomas Long, CSV
Weaving the Viatorian Charism into Las Vegas Teens A new ministry has begun to revitalize middle school students at St. Viator Parish in Las Vegas: a campus ministry department.
parishes around the country,” says Associate Rosy Hartz. “But we started to think that we could do more in Las Vegas to help foster the Viatorian identity. Basically, we wanted to get to them earlier.” Rosy and her husband, Viatorian Associate Paul Hartz, as well as Pre-Associate Brian Barrett formed the new campus ministry program, meeting with students once a month. “Although they’re attending St. Viator School, the presence of our charism isn’t always identitfied,” Rosy says. “As associates, we thought we could help.”
No longer is it the domain of high school and college campuses. At St. Viator, youth ministers started with junior high students and this summer they intend to offer it to more youngsters in the wider parish community.
They gather in the parish center for a meeting filled with faith and fellowship, teenage style. During a recent afternoon, students joined with Fr. William Haesaert, CSV, and other
“We’ve taken teens to the Viatorian Youth Congress every summer, where they meet other students from schools and www.viatorians.com
Viatorian Named President of Catholic Theological Union Fr. Mark Francis, CSV is considered an expert in sacramental theology and liturgy, and already he has published several books on the subjects. He admits that he would be happy to continue his research and writing but the Holy Spirit has led him differently, namely into leadership. In April, Fr. Francis was named the 7th president of the Catholic Theological Union, which is the largest graduate school of theology and ministry in the country. In part, he believes he was selected based on his 12 years serving in Rome as the superior general of the Viatorians. “I’m excited for the opportunity,” Fr. Francis said, “and I look forward to continuing the vitality of this school, whose graduates have touched so many lives around the world.” The announcement came as good news for CTU officials as well as the Viatorians, who now have had two of their members hold the position. Fr. John Linnan, CSV, led the union from 1981 to 1987. “As a community of educators, to have Mark lead such a prestigious institution of higher learning, underlines our commitment to education — and especially to those in ministry and faith formation,” says Fr. Thomas von Behren, provincial. He points out that 24 religious order communities sponsor the union and send their students to CTU for professional and ministerial preparation. “The Viatorian community was one of the first congregations to join the union that has become CTU,” Fr. von Behren adds. “Many of our priests and brothers have attended CTU for graduate studies and preparation for diaconal and priestly ordination.” Overall, CTU is widely acknowledged as reflecting the global Catholic church — with students from 46 countries, including seminarians from religious orders, lay men and women, and
Viatorian associates in a word association game, using a ball of yarn as the icebreaker. Standing in a circle, each teen threw the yarn to another classmate, asking them to answer quickly what church means to them. From student to student, the yarn spun into a web, especially after a second round of questions, when they answered about the meaning of faith. The strings, Rosy says, showed the students that they are all connected as Catholics and as Viatorians — even if they don’t always agree on every issue. “If one person were to let go,” Rosy adds, “the support of everyone around them would pull them back in.”
Fr. Mark Francis joined Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland at CTU’s trustee dinner in April, where he was announced as incoming president of the college.
students of various faiths, including Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant, all in dialogue with the Catholic tradition. Its stated mission is to “prepare effective leaders for the church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love and peace.” As it is, CTU’s 3,500 lay and religious graduates are serving in more than 65 countries worldwide. Fr. Francis graduated from Saint Viator High School and was ordained to the priesthood in 1982. With the Viatorians, he attended Loyola University before earning advanced degrees from CTU. One of his first assignments was at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia. In 1988, he earned a doctorate in sacred liturgy in Rome, before returning to teach liturgy at CTU for 12 years. As superior general of the Viatorians, Fr. Francis lived in Rome and worked with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He now hopes to work with Pope Francis, in fulfilling his vision of a church renewed in inclusiveness and concern for the poor. “I am committed to preparing ministers for this Church who are open to the Spirit of God,” Fr. Francis said, “who continues to surprise us in revealing God’s presence in the forgotten and marginalized of our society.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
During another month, they focused on different styles of prayer, during a 30-minute workshop. Students were able to choose from praying with music, saying the rosary, meditating and hearing spiritual readings in Lectio Divina — as well as praying with art in Visio Divina, doing sculpting prayer, journaling or helping to prepare the homily for the next school Mass. St. Viator Principal Kathleen Daulton says the new program has benefitted students and their parents as they learn about the Viatorian charism. “The students really enjoy the various projects and programs that they are involved in,” Mrs. Daulton says. “They come back with a renewed perspective on our school mission.” Eileen O’Grady Daday 9
Celebrate Our Jubilarians... Fr. Donald R. Wehnert, CSV will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a Viatorian priest on June 8, but his calling started long before that. He recalls that by his senior year at Cathedral Boys High School he had decided that he wanted to join the Viatorians.
support facility in the Mediterranean at Diego Garcia, and at Camp Lejune, North Carolina. He went from military chaplain to establishing the Viatorian mission in Belize and becoming pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Corozal, Belize. During two terms there, Fr. Hall served the people of that very large parish, which includes 23 villages and 20 elementary schools. At Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, where Fr. Hall returned in 2003, he has been teacher, counselor and an assistant football coach during three sessions there, helping to educate students as faith-filled members of a global society.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a teacher or even a priest, but I was sure I wanted to be a Viatorian,” Fr. Wehnert says.
Fr. Hall, did not join the Army or the Viatorians to see the world, but he has seen it and been asked to serve in a variety of places and ministries, and often in leadership positions. Just this spring, Fr. Hall was elected by his confreres to serve as one of four councilors to the provincial.
Most of his career has been in services to many of the parishes sponsored by the community. Twice he was assigned to work with Viatorians at Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas — from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1973 to 1981. Nearly half of his 50 years as priest have been spent at St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee. His first period came in 1982 to 1989, before returning again from 1997 to 2002. In his semi-retirement starting in 2002, he chose to return there where he continues to reside.
Fr. John E. Eck, CSV might be called a streetwise man of God by the hundreds of young men he influenced during his 50 years as a priest. For the most part, he has been drawn to working with young people who have experienced failure in traditional settings, as well as helping those in need. He is at once a stern mentor and a good friend. He is committed to promoting social justice in all he does.
From 1989 to 1996 he served as pastor at St. Mary’s Beaverville and St. Martin’s in Martinton, IL. Among other assignments was his work as parochial vicar at St. Viator Church in Chicago in 1996-67 and St. Joseph Parish in Springfield in 1970-73. Fr. Wehnert is a quiet man who is admired by the many people he has served not only as celebrant of Sunday and daily Masses, but also by living the corporal works of mercy. They know him to visit the sick, bury the dead, feed the hungry and be model of all the works of mercy. Fr. Daniel R. Hall, CSV came to the Viatorians after having completed college work at universities in Virginia and having served twice in Vietnam during his early military years with the U.S. Army special forces. All of his life experiences have helped to enrich his ministry as a Viatorian.
From 1966 to 1978, he was assigned to Alleman High School in Rock Island, Illinois. Those were not easy times for teenagers, but Fr. Eck was an understanding guide for many. From Alleman he went to Chicago to become a leader and teacher at Prologue High School that was designed to offer an alternative education in literacy, job training and GED preparation. After 7 years with the Prologue School, he turned to parish work. During the 1990s, he worked at St. Joseph Church and St. Patrick’s Parish in Springfield where he applied his experiences in a new setting. At that time,he was active with the Social Concerns Committee for the Diocese of Springfield and its task force on racism.
In the years from 1978 through 1989, Fr. Hall completed his seminary training, served as deacon at Maternity BVM parish in Bourbonnais, and taught at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights and Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
In 1999, he went to St. Viator Parish in Chicago where he served as parochial vicar until 2005. He then became pastor of the parish and served there until his retirement to St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee, Illinois where he now resides and keeps busy helping parishes who need his ministry.
Yet, three assignments over his 25 years as priest have helped to define his ministry. From 1990 to 1997 he returned to military life as priest and chaplain at Camp Pendleton, California, at the Navy’s www.viatorians.com
Fr. John W.R. Maguire – Labor Hero Requests come into the Viatorian archives all the time for help in completing research. Recently, a query came in regarding Fr. John W.R. Maguire, CSV and his work with labor unions. Mike Matejka, vice-president of the Illinois Labor History Society, was doing research for an article in the spring issue of Illinois Heritage, a publication of the Illinois State Historical Society. With its labor theme this issue, he hoped to learn more Fr. John W.R. Maguire, CSV about Maguire’s labor work. He was also looking for historic Illinois labor sites of interest to be posted on the Illinois Labor History website.
grave of Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones, in 1930. Fr. Maguire, who championed labor causes for 25 years during his priesthood, was also a professor, college president, missionary and World War I chaplain. The Viatorian chapel at the Province Center in Arlington Heights was dedicated to Fr. Maguire in 1951, at the request of the Illinois State Federation of Labor. Its leaders cited Fr. Maguire’s years of working to get the state legislature to pass laws that advanced workers’ welfare, including the Workman’s Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act, the Injunction Limitation Act, the Child Labor Law and One Day of Rest in Seven. A memorial plaque displayed in the main entrance foyer of the Province Center describes his legacy.
Fr. John W. R. Maguire, CSV (1883-1940) was known as one of labor’s best friends. Maguire was a nationally known mediator in industrial disputes – like the Green Mountain Dam strike in Colorado and the Kohler (plumbing) strike in Kohler, Wisconsin. He ultimately settled 87 out of 90 disputes. As a result, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him to the regional labor board in Chicago. Maguire’s commitment to social justice exemplifies the Viatorian spirit today. In fact, peace and social justice were cited as priorities for the worldwide congregation at last summer’s general chapter meeting, and it will be the theme of this summer’s provincial assembly, the annual meeting of the U.S. Viatorian community in Arlington Heights. Maguire founded labor organizations and programs, such as the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems and the Catholic Association for International Peace. He also gave a series of lectures on injunctions in 1928 on WCFL radio — “The Voice of Labor” — in Chicago.
Maguire Memorial plaque at the Province Center For more information about historic Illinois labor monuments, sites and people, visit: www.illinoislaborhistory.org. The website now includes a profile of Fr. John W.R. Maguire, CSV, as one of its labor heroes — and the chapel that is dedicated in his honor.
Maguire was described as “a pioneer in the field that advocated a living wage. He gave every moment of his time to the working man,” in his obituary published in the 1940 Annuaire by the Viatorian General Direction. He gave the eulogy at the
Joan Sweeney, Viatorian associate and archivist 11
Responding to Those Accounted of Little Importance Viatorians attempt to lead them in prayers, but it takes the detainees to repeat them for those in the back. Prayer flows into action and Viatorians respond in various ways. A post-detention accompaniment program — sponsored by the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants and comprised of lay and religious leaders of whom Viatorians are members — reaches out to those who are released from detention. Often, they are completely bewildered because they were picked up in another state and released in Chicago. Some may need such basics as food and transportation to the bus station. Viatorians have provided transportation and negotiated the purchase of the tickets, while other released detainees may have nowhere to go.
Immigration may be a hot button topic, but Viatorians have been advocating for compassionate, comprehensive reform for years. Members from the Chicago and Arlington Heights regions came together last spring to discern how they could live out the Viatorian mandate to reach out to those accounted of little importance. They quickly reached a consensus that they reach out to undocumented immigrants, who live in constant fear of being stopped for any reason and being deported. All the while they struggle to survive at the bottom of the economic ladder, while sending money home to feed their families. The response has been one of prayer ‑ and action. Viatorians living in the retirement wing of the province center pray the rosary daily for immigration reform. Viatorians — associates and professed — pray at the detention center at the Broadview Processing Center where the undocumented are brought there to say goodbye to their families and loaded onto a prison bus bound for O’Hare International Airport.
Viatorians are responding to that need as well. The ministry acquired a former convent and now is upgrading it to code. When the renovations are completed, the building will be able to welcome up to 18 people. In preparation, Viatorians have helped to clean and furnish the house. They also have provided funding for staff and rent. Many of the detainees are so overwhelmed by the complexity of the detention system, that a group of volunteers travels weekly to the McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, IL to offer them pastoral care. Volunteers are driven by the maxim of treating each other with respect. The Viatorians who participate, says that simple act of humanity makes a visible impact among upon the detained. Viatorians also have been involved in advocacy for reform. Members have traveled to the state capitol in Illinois to talk with their legislators and visited local offices of their congressional representatives. As a community, Viatorians are working in various capacities toward the goal of comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. True to the Viatorian charism, they are working closely with other religious, priests and laity, seeking to create a future — one step at a time — where the human rights of people everywhere are respected.
Before departing, Viatorians often pray with them on the buses. The scene is reminiscent of an environment reserved for hardened criminals, with wire mesh incarcerating passengers. www.viatorians.com
Fr. Thomas Long, CSV 12
Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, Named President of Saint Viator High School “I am proud to say that Saint Viator High School is one of the few Catholic high schools in the Chicago area that can point to having 11 of their community members on the faculty of their own school,” Fr. von Behren said. “The Viatorians are committed to Saint Viator High School today and for decades to come.” Fr. Brost earned his undergraduate degree in journalism and a law degree from the University of Illinois before starting his career at Saint Viator High School in 1987 as anEnglish teacher. He soon entered the Viatorian Community as a religious brother. He now has spent 25 years as a youth educator and campus minister for Viatorian schools and parishes throughout the country and in 2006 was ordained a priest. He earned advanced degrees in pastoral studies at Loyola University and in divinity from Catholic Theological Union. “When I came back here six years ago, I thought I was going to be teaching freshmen religion,” Fr. Brost told the faculty. “But day after day, I am inspired, challenged, and in awe of you. I see miracles happen every day at this school.” Fr. von Behren noted that Fr. Egan leaves the school on solid ground. “He has brought new life to the mission of the school,” Fr. von Behren said, “and he leaves with nothing but great possibilities before it.”
For the last six years, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, has been a familiar face around Saint Viator High School, attending student concerts, athletic contests and theater performances — over and above the time he spends with them in religion class. Beginning next month, he will be ramping up his visibility, as he takes over as president. The announcement came as little surprise to faculty and staff members. For past two years, Fr. Brost has served as vice president of mission effectiveness at the school, working closely with Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, president for the last eight years.
Fr. Egan brought a unique perspective to the role, having attended the school himself, graduating in 1969. He went on to teach at the school, head the Clerics of St. Viator as provincial, serve as pastor at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, and ultimately lead the Arlington Heights high school beginning in 2005. Fr. Brost, C.S.V., has continued to serve as chairman of the religion department and head of the vocation office for the Viatorians while serving in the high school’s administration. This summer, however, he will devote himself full time to his new assignment: preparing Saint Viator High School students to be faith-filled, contributing members of a global society.
However, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, came personally to make the announcement. As provincial of the Viatorians’ Chicago province and president of the school’s board of governors, he stressed how important it was to have a Viatorian lead the school.
Eileen O’Grady Daday 13
Around the Province... This issue of Around the Province highlights just a few current and past partnerships between the Viatorians and others. Collaboration between the Sisters of the Living Word and the Viatorian Community was recognized at the Sisters’ 25th annual Mardi Gras gala on Feb. 1. In accepting the Partners in Mission Award, Viatorians acknowledged the many ways the two religious congregations have worked together in recent years to promote peace and justice both at home and abroad, which includes opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing seed money for a micro-lending program for families in transitional housing, and accompanying immigrants released from federal detention. On Feb. 10, Fr. James Michaletz celebrated the 50th anniversary jubilee Mass with alumnae from the former Sacred Heart of Mary High School founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, which merged with Saint Viator High School in 1987. Fr. Michaletz told the women that he had “history” with the school as well. He served as a teacher in 1963 at Saint Viator, when Sacred Heart opened, using two wings of the boys’ high school while theirs was being built. He later served as superintendent in 1972 during its transition into a diocesan school. “Throughout all of these changes, the one constant was the student body and its graduates, its alumnae,” Fr. Michaletz told the crowd of 100 women and their families. “They are the people who continue its tradition, its legacy.” Br. Leo Ryan received the Career Achievement Award from leaders of the national business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, at the Palmer House in Chicago on Feb. 16. The award came during their Professional Business Leadership Institute conference. www.viatorians.com
The citation commended Br. Ryan for his “lifelong pursuit of knowledge, education and service to others while adhering to the strictest code of ethics.” Br. Ryan is known for the many partnerships he has fostered through his work with the Peace Corps, Marquette University and DePaul University. The Viatorian Community has provided a three-year grant to the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) to provide housing and staffing for immigrants needing a place to live. Several Viatorians have spent hours gathering furniture, paint and donations to help transform an empty convent into a home for immigrants needing a place to live. The Marie Joseph House of Hospitality is scheduled to open this summer. The Viatorian community co-sponsored the second annual CROSSwalk that was held on March 22 to remember the more than 800 children and youth who have been murdered in Chicago since 2008. Founded at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, this procession and vigil is an initiative of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. One week later, the Viatorian community co-sponsored 8th Day Center for Justice’s 33 annual Good Friday Walk for Justice that unites the “Christian passion story with the justice struggles of today in an effort to open a space of reflection, memory and resistance.” The Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator partnered with other religious congregations and human rights organizations recently by adding its name to six sign-on letters that promote peace and justice. The first letter, drafted by Churches for Middle East Peace, calls on President Barack Obama to work towards “facilitating a just, durable, and final negotiated agreement to end the Arab-IsraeliPalestinian conflict.” The second letter, drafted by Bread for the World, calls on Sen. Mark Kirk to protect funding cuts to vital programs that provide food to them vulnerable. Fr. Daniel Belanger, Fr. Charles Bolser, Fr. James Fanale, Fr. John Peeters, Fr. Richard Pighini and Fr. Robert M. Egan joined other Illinois pastors, bishops, and agency directors in signing the letter as well.
Gracious God, today, as every day, we pray for your grace. The third letter, drafted by First Focus, calls on Congress and President Obama to create a new National Commission on Children “to ensure the safety and well-being of every child in America.” Sadly, the U.S. “ranks 20 out of 21 industrialized nations in measures of child well-being and relative child poverty. Almost 16.1 million U.S. children live in poverty.” The fourth letter, drafted by the Washington Interfaith Staff Community Pentagon Spending Working Group, urges Congress “to reduce Pentagon spending to a proportion commensurate with levels prior to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Resources need to be redirected “to address the urgent matters of human security that we face as a nation.” The fifth letter, drafted by Jubilee USA, calls upon Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk to co-sponsor the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act (S. 268) in order to “close a myriad of corporate tax loopholes that serve no public purpose and would raise at least $190 billion over 10 years.”
But today, we ask a little more--for a grace that is costly, for a grace that is just, and for the courage to choose this grace alone.
When your name is used like a slogan to promote what offends you, give us the grace to say, “No”. When your word is spoken to exclude and divide, give us the grace to quietly include everyone. When your reign is reduced to nationalism or terrorism, give us the grace to resist.
When love is called weakness, and hope is dissolved in cynicism, and faith is dismissed as delusion, give us the grace to hold our ground and lift our voices.
Today and every day and for always, we pray for the grace to take up whatever cross we may face, and to follow you down whatever road you show us. We pray for the grace to be people who share
The sixth letter, drafted by the Latin American Working Group in light of the peace negotiations between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), calls on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to “re-orient its foreign assistances to Colombia so that it is aid for peace, rather than aid for war.”
grace and justice, even as we give thanks for the just grace we have received.
by: John van de Laar
Michael Gosch, CSV Email: email@example.com Website: www.viatorians.com Provincial: Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV
Editor: Fr. Thomas E. Long, CSV Director of Communications: Eileen O’Grady Daday
Editorial Board: Fr. Thomas R. von Behren, CSV Br. Michael T. Gosch, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde, CSV Br. Leo V. Ryan, CSV Eileen O’Grady Daday
Barton Hisgen Joan Sweeney Layout and Design: Dianna Ehrenfried Visualedge, Inc.
lerics of St. Viator C 1212 E. Euclid Avenue Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5799
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INSIDE Page 2 Mission Trip in Belize: Not Just for Students Anymore
St. Viator Parish Takes Root in Bogota Page 4
and more accessible to the people whom he has been called to lead and to serve, and to eschew some of the external trappings of the papacy. His desire to be connected to the poor, to the immigrant, to the suffering causes all of us to pause and to reflect upon our own lives and our own living of discipleship. His willingness to acknowledge the social issues of our day gives hope that the official church is open to listen, to enter dialogue, and to embrace all of humanity as Christ embraced those in his time and place. As Viatorians, we are called to reach out to all those that we serve, especially those who are often accounted of little importance in our world. We are called to raise up communities of faith and proclaim Jesus Christ to those in need or who are abandoned. I believe that Pope Francis would be happy to know that this is the mission of the Viatorian Community. And I believe that Pope Francis would be happy to bless our ministry and our commitment to those who are young and to those who are marginalized. You can feel it in the air! As summer approaches, a new spring has dawned in the church. With the election of Pope Francis I, Catholics everywhere are talking about a new papal style, his appealing personality, and all of which point to a hopeful sign for our often troubled church. Yes, the election of Pope Francis tugs on our heartstrings and touches the conscience of a people looking for meaning and the presence of Christ in our world. What is it that Francis brings that has touched us so? While it is early in his pontificate, Pope Francis has shown a desire to live more simply, to be more human
Yes, summer is in the air! A breath of fresh air within the halls of the Vatican is being proclaimed by many. And in this spirit of hope, we await the promise of a new pope that will heal the wounds of the past and will create a spirit of welcome and love for all. As Viatorians, we rejoice in the election of Pope Francis and pray that his example may be embraced by all those called to lead our world and our Catholic Church.
Viatorians’ Vocation Office: Manifesting a Spirit of Availability Page 5 Walking Into a Future of Great Promise Page 6 Q & A: with Connor Romemesko Page 7 In the Footsteps of Our Founder... Page 8 A Ministry of Accompaniment: the Pastoral Migratoria Program Weaving the Viatorian Charism into Las Vegas Teens Page 9 Viatorian Named President of Catholic Theological Union Page 10 Celebrate Our Jubilarians Page 11 Fr. John W.R. Maguire – Labor Hero Page 12 Responding to Those Accounted of Little Importance Page 13 Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, Named President of Saint Viator High School Page 14 Around the Province...