Provincial Perspective As I sit at my computer in the Office of the Provincial to pen my final Provincial Perspective, I look back on these past 12 years and marvel at the speed in which they have passed by. Yet, I must say that I really don’t believe that these years have “passed by,” rather these years have been spent in joyful service and leadership of the Congregation and Province in which I love and embrace as family. Serving as provincial has been the singular, most profound experience of my ministerial life.
Another “moment” was being part of the decision to see something new become a reality — whether in Colombia, Belize, Nevada or right here in Illinois — to see new life, new structures, new communities, new ministries rise up and become part of who we are. These are enduring legacies that will continue to define who we are for generations to come.
It is impossible for me to summarize my experience, yet, I would like to share a few special moments that have been significant and have helped shape these years.
Yet, with all of this, I return to individuals. My three provincial councils gave me great strength and support. My two assistant provincials, Br. Michael Gosch and Fr. Larry Lentz offered wisdom and shared the burden. My team at the Province Center served as the support staff that kept things in order and made things go so smoothly. Our Director of Building and Grounds, Steve Burks and his righthand man, Noé Quiroga, made me look good and often made our lives much easier. My assistant, Donna Schwarz and our CFO Jim Thomas kept me organized, grounded and offered great council. My fellow community member, Br. Carlos Flórez, offered great personal assistance, support and insight as a general councilor. To have lived at the Province Center allowed me the privileged opportunity to share life, meals, community and prayer with our retired men whom I admire in so many ways. What a blessing all these individuals have been in my life.
The first of these “moments” may sound strange, however, there was no more important moment for me than to be with my brothers as they passed from life here on earth to life in heaven. Holding the hand of a dying Viatorian, whispering a prayer, giving assurances that he was not alone — these privileged moments will forever be part of my life and heart. Some 27 of my fellow professed brothers and nine Viatorian associates entered into eternal life during my 12 years as provincial. With each passing, I experienced both loss and gratitude — loss of a relationship here on earth, gratitude for their service as a Viatorian.
And so, while I come to an end of my ministry as provincial, I do not say farewell. Rather, I invite you to join with me in supporting a new ministry in which I will embrace in the years to come. As we build the new Cristo Rey St. Viator Las Vegas College Preparatory school, I ask for your prayers, your support, your love as we continue to educate the young, care for those who are in need, and raise up new communities of faith. Adored and Loved Be Jesus.
The next “moment” was when I had the privilege of representing the Congregation and Province in receiving first and perpetual vows of a young religious, as well as joining in the imposition of hands at an ordination, and accepting commitments from associates as they joined the Viatorian Community. To be intimately involved in these intentions were special moments that I will carry with me throughout my life.
In St. Viator and Fr. Querbes,
Thomas R. von Behren, CSV, Provincial – Province of Chicago
In this Issue: 2 Provincial Perspective 3 New Provincial Council to be Installed in June 4 Br. John Eustice, CSV, Headed to Maternity BVM Parish 5 Viatorians Honored for Commitment to Catholic Education 6 Saint Viator High School Introduces New Principal 7 Recognizing the Impact of a Viatorian Education 8 Colegio San Viator: Named One of the Best Schools in Colombia 9 Q & A: Fr. Pedro Herrara, CSV
Viator House of Hospitality: Walking with Young Immigrants
11 Peace Circle: Sharing Hopes and Challenges
12 In Memoriam: Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV 13 Celebrating Our Jubilarians 14 Viatorians: Still Opening New Schools 15 From the Archives: Viatorian Contributions to World War I 16 Around the Province 2
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 Fr. Charles G. Bolser, CSV Br. Donald P. Houde, CSV Fr. Lawrence D. Lentz, CSV Eileen O’Grady Daday Associate Joan Sweeney Layout and Design: Dianna Ehrenfried, Visualedge, Inc. Email: email@example.com
New Provincial Council to be Installed in June For the first time in 12 years, members of the Viatorian Community elected a new provincial superior. After all the votes were counted — from Viatorians in Arlington Heights, Colombia and Las Vegas — Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, was elected by his confreres to lead them over the next four years. His installation will take place June 4. He succeeds Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, who has led the Province of Chicago as provincial for the last 12 years, and was only the second Viatorian to be elected to three consecutive terms. In accepting the role, Fr. Egan becomes pastoral leader of the Viatorian Community’s nearly 160 associates, brothers and priests, serving in this country and in the foundation of Colombia, site of two Viatorian schools and a growing number of vocations. “It is certainly an honor for me to serve our Viatorian Community in this position of leadership and pastoral service,” Fr. Egan said. “While I have served as provincial in years past, the future holds a variety of opportunities and challenges for the church and for our Viatorian Community. “I begin this new ministry with a renewed excitement,” he added, “and a deep trust in the grace and goodness of God.” It will be Fr. Egan’s second time as provincial. He also held the office from 1992-2001, before leaving to serve as pastor of St. Viator Parish in Chicago and later as president of Saint Viator High School, from 2005-2013. His selection means he will have to leave St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV, where he has served for the last four years, including as pastor for the last two.
“The vibrancy and Christian witness that marks St. Thomas More has truly been a grace in my life,” Fr. Egan wrote to his parishioners. After Fr. Egan’s election, Viatorians also voted for two members of the Provincial Council, who are charged with advising and sharing in the leadership of the community. They include Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, who currently serves as the president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Prior to that, he served as Superior General of the Viatorian Community for 12 years. Both he and Fr. Egan are products of Saint Viator High School. Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, also was elected to join the Provincial Council. He has served on the council for the last seven years as a trusted advisor to Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, and Fr. Egan has asked him to serve as his assistant provincial. Fr. Hall also was named Vice President of Viatorian Identity and Mission at Saint Viator High School, where he continues as a social studies teacher and coach. Joining them will be Br. John Eustice, CSV, who is one of the youngest members of the Viatorians in this country. He will be heading up the youth ministry program at Maternity BVM Parish, beginning this summer, along with his role on the council. Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, rounds out the group. He is the first Colombian to be named to the council. He serves as president of Colegio San Viator in Bogotá and has been a Viatorian for 37 years.
(left to right) Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, and Fr. Mark Francis, CSV Pictured at right (top to bottom) Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV
Eileen O’Grady Daday
Br. John Eustice, CSV, Headed to Maternity BVM Parish What goes around, comes around — at least in the lives of two young Viatorians.
“I believe God has been calling me to work in an area where personnel and resources are needed,” Br. John said in telling his co-workers at the high school. “I also have the desire to be working in the outreach efforts of a parish.”
Nearly nine years ago, these Viatorian brothers knelt before their Provincial Superior, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, and promised to spend the rest of their lives in the service of others. Since that time, Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, have done just that. Br. John worked with youth and outreach at the former Viatorian mission site in Belize, and currently serves as co-director of Campus Ministry at Saint Viator High School. In April, he was chosen to join in leadership of the Viatorians, as a member of the Provincial Council. At the same time, Fr. Jason has served as associate pastor of Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais.
“The millennials are the fastest growing group of people leaving the church,” Br. John says. “I’m excited to help the church figure that out in a very real way.”
Now, their paths will cross again. Beginning this summer, Br. John will begin a new assignment at Maternity BVM Parish, coordinating youth and young adult ministry. He will live in the rectory, along with Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor, and Fr. Jason.
Moving to Bourbonnais brings Br. John back to his roots. He was born in the LaSalle-Peru area of central Illinois, before his family moved to Las Vegas when he was 12. He also looks forward to serving in the Viatorians’ first parish, where they arrived more than 150 years ago.
“We’re looking forward to having him join our parish,” Fr. Pighini said. “Having him come, opens up the possibility of a new ministry here with young adults, something that’s sorely needed.”
Mostly, Br. John says, he is excited to live in community with his confreres, Fr. Pighini and Fr. Jason, and perhaps shine a light on religious life.
Br. John will arrive in July, just in time for the parish’s Camp MOSH, or Maternity Outreach Service for Humanity. It will be somewhat like baptism by fire, as he arrives in time to watch hundreds of teens heading to work sites in the area, before returning to the church campus for dinner, liturgy and music.
“I’m hoping that through our example, young men can see that Viatorian religious life is vital — and life giving,” Br. John said, “and that they would want to join us.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
The six-day service camp will offer a sampling of the energy in the parish in the area of youth ministry, created by Patty Bailey, and Br. John hopes to carry it forward.
Br. John Eustice, left and Fr. Jason Nesbit during their
Br. John also hopes to 2008 perpetual vow ceremony dive deeper into the area of young adult ministry, reaching out to the 18-25 year olds.
Viatorians Honored for Commitment to Catholic Education
Back row, L-R: Ken Roos; Mimi Roos; Virginia Cunningham; Jean Poteete: Pattie Johnson; Vikki Rodrigues; Joe Halpin, Front row, L-R: Connie Gerber; Margaret Foy; Aggie Evert; Chuck Gerber
At Bishop Gorman High School’s signature event, the Knight of the Gael, Viatorians were among those honored this year for their dedication to the school — and to Catholic education. In all, school officials honored 15 faculty and staff members who had worked 30 or more years at the school. Prominent among those were Viatorian Associates Connie Gerber and Mimi Roos — who both spent 41 years at the school — and the late Fr. Norbert Bibeault, CSV, a 36-year math and science teacher. “It was a grand evening,” Gerber said. “Some former students came in from out-of-state for the celebration. It was very heartwarming.” Gerber was a foreign language teacher at the school before she entered its administration. In 1998, she was hired as Bishop Gorman’s first woman principal and among her accomplishments, she shepherded the school community through the building of its new campus, which eventually opened in 2007. “In education, firmness, fairness and consistncy are the hallmarks,” Gerber said. “I hope that I’ve added kindness and respect.” In 2006, after years of partnering with Viatorians at the school, Gerber made her first, two-year commitment as a Viatorian associate. She renewed that commitment two more times over the last 10 years and just last year made her definitive commitment. During that time, Gerber has played an active role in the Viatorian Community, particularly in the western region. However, she also serves as one of six associates who collaborate with six professed members on the Viatorian Community Council. They meet twice a year to discuss aspects of community life, including mission, spirituality and ministry.
Roos taught government and social studies during her more than four decades at the school, while she also moderated its cheerleading squad. She retired in 2007 and within two years she began her discernment as a Viatorian associate. She made her first commitment in 2011. “All those years working there, it was like a family,” Roos says. “It was a wonderful community to be a part of.” In all, more than 600 guests gathered at the Red Rock Associate Mimi Roos and her husband, Ken Casino in Las Vegas for the 35th annual event. Over the years, the benefit has raised millions of dollars for the school’s tuition assistance fund. “By honoring those who dedicated 30 or more years of their lives to Bishop Gorman Associate Connie Gerber and her husband, High School we celebrate our Chuck, were honored for their years of service tradition and longevity in Las Vegas,” said Viatorian Associate Bridget Michlik, development director. “Their service is an outward symbol of what we strive for as a school, a special institution that prides itself on our loyal and faithful community.” Bishop Gorman was the first Catholic high school in Southern Nevada, started by the Viatorians in 1954. Currenly, Br. Dan Tripamer, CSV, teaches math at the school and Viatorian Associate Kim Martinez works in campus ministry. Eileen O’Grady Daday
Saint Viator High School Introduces New Principal A career educator, who has spent nearly 20 years in Catholic education, including the last five years as Assistant Principal for Instruction at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, was named the new principal of Saint Viator High School. Saint Viator President Brian Liedlich introduced Mrs. Karen Love to faculty and staff members during a regular professional development meeting in March, and afterwards they lined up to meet her. Love emerged from a pool of 15 qualified candidates, Liedlich said. He described her as an innovator with strong skills in planning and implementing new initiatives. “I was encouraged by our board of governors and board of trustees to look for candidates who could bring strong leadership skills and new perspectives to this role,” Liedlich said, “and who could particularly help with the recommendations coming out of our strategic planning process. “I believe we have found a candidate,” he added, “who more than checks all these boxes.”
Dean Deborah Scerbicke welcomes new Principal Karen Love
Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, Vice President of Viatorian Mission and Identity, served on the search committee and he pointed to her experience as an administrator — and a teacher. “She’s a wonderfully qualified candidate,” Fr. Hall said, “who is well grounded in her faith and will be a positive influence moving forward.” Before serving at Loyola Academy, Love spent 14 years at Jesuit High School in Portland, OR, where she began as a math teacher but moved into administration, serving as director of adult spiritual formation and later as director of professional development. In addressing the faculty, Love said she was “humbled to serve” and she looked forward to joining the Saint Viator community. “During the interview process, I was impressed with Saint Viator’s focus on academic excellence,” Love said, “your scholars’ program and number of international students, as well as the leverage of technology in the clasroom as an Brian Liedlich, President of Saint Viator High School, Karen Love, Principal, and Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, VicePresident of Viatorian Mission and Identity Apple distinguished school. “And I learned of Saint Viator’s strong reputation in the community,” she added. “Nearly everyone I told that I was coming here, knew someone at Saint Viator.” Liedlich led a nine-member search committee who extended their search nationally for a new principal. The group included Mrs. Eileen Manno, who announced her retirement this year after a 35-year career at Saint Viator, including the last 13 as principal. Eileen O’Grady Daday
Recognizing the Impact of a Viatorian Education Viatorians on hand included: (First row, L-R) Br. Carlos Flórez, Fr. John Milton, Fr. James Michaletz, Br. Donald Houde, Fr. Daniel Lydon, Br. Peter Lamick, Br. Daniel Tripamer, Br. Rob Robertson and Fr. Mick Egan. Second row, L-R: Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, Br. Michael Gosch, Fr. Corey Brost, Fr. Thomas von Behren, Br. John Eustice, Fr. Daniel Hall, Fr. Mark Francis and Fr. Charles Bolser.
Viatorians and the impact of a Viatorian education were at the center of Saint Viator High School’s Night of the Lion fundraiser in March.
Grubbe went on to describe a skiing accident he suffered during his sophomore year, which left him in traction for six months and nearly took him out of school. However, it was his gruff homeroom teacher, Fr. John Durkee, CSV, who arranged with his parents to tutor Grubbe at his home.
Saint Viator’s largest fundraiser took place at the school and wove guests from the opening reception in Querbes Hall, to the Jeuck Auditorium for a video presentation and awards, before heading to the Boler Center for a variety of entrée stations and live music.
“Saint Viator High School has a saying, that they never leave any child behind — and they mean it,” Grubbe said. “My heartfelt thanks goes to the Viatorians for their grand and noble Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, enjoyed reminiscing with his mission.” former student, Dr. Kerry Lemke Conneely ’90 and her
The powerful testimonials began with Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, who was honored as the Night of the Lion honoree. He has spent nearly 50 years teaching mathematics to students at Saint Viator, including this year, when he continues to advance members of the math team further into the state series, and designs projects for the school’s Querbes Scholars. “He is a living, breathing and inspiring example of our Viatorian mission,” said Mr. Brian Liedlich in introducing him to the crowd, “and everyone here recognizes (Fr. Perham) as a master teacher.”
The speeches kept husband, Dr. Mark Conneely, now current Saint Viator High School parents. getting better. Zac Jones, class of ’17, spoke last, representing current Saint Viator students, especially those who benefit from scholarships funded in part by the Night of the Lion gala.
Guests in the audience gave Fr. Perham a standing ovation (twice) and he thanked them, saying he was “deeply gratified to be honored.” “My life here at Saint Viator has been as a classroom teacher,” Fr. Perham said. “I accept this award for all the teachers who have cared for our students, who encouraged them to work hard and dream big — and if you fail, to pick yourself up and keep going.”
He described coming from a small Catholic school in Des Plaines, and finding all that a large high school had to offer — and thriving on it. Zac has appeared in multiple plays and musicals, while taking eight AP classes. He is an Illinois State Scholar and a National Merit finalist and will be headed to Yale University this fall.
One of his former students, Tom Grubbe ’75, followed him, accepting the Night of the Lion Business Partner award. Grubbe is the president and founder of Directions, an audio-visual company based in Schaumburg, IL that produces live events, graphic design, corporate videos, and interactive meeting technology.
“I finally found an academic environment that emboldened me to expand my knowledge — and encouraged me to work harder,” Zac said. “The diversity of knowledge I’ve amassed while at Saint Viator will carry me forward, not only through higher education but also through the rest of my life.” Eileen O’Grady Daday
“I owe a tremendous amount to Saint Viator,” Grubbe said. “If it were not for my attendance at Saint Viator, I would not be doing what I’m doing today. I realize how fortunate I was — I had the dream team of Viatorians as my teachers.”
Colegio San Viator: Named One of the Best Schools in Colombia One year after being certified as an International Baccalaureate School, Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia stands apart again. Last month, administrators learned that the colegio had received the Col-Sapiens certification as one of the best schools in Colombia. Col-Sapiens rates schools based on their quality and international accreditation, explains Principal Carlos Trebilcock. In order to earn the certification, a school must rank in the highest category of the Colombian Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education (ICFES), by meeting it highest standards for two Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, president of Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, meets with accreditation members consecutive years. of the International Baccalaureate program. “The ICFES is the national testing organization which assesses the knowledge and performance of all senior students in Colombia, similar to the ACT in the United States,” Trebilcock says. “The organization also verifies the quality certifications schools have, which must be endorsed by the Ministry of Education.” In part, the colegio was recognized for its success in quality management and implementation of the IB programs. Colegio San Viator became authorized as an IB school in April, 2016. The worldwide recognition affirms the educational mission of the colegio, started by the Viatorians in 1961. “The International Baccalaureate is recognized worldwide because of its high quality programs and rigorous assessment methods,” says Diego Cordoba, director of the Primary Years program. “We share the IB mission of aiming to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” Because of its IB recognition, the colegio also was tapped last year to mentor a struggling public school and in October, Colegio San Viator entered into an agreement with Universidad de La Sabana, giving colegio graduates fast-track entry. Eileen O’Grady Daday
Fr. Pedro Herrara, CSV
The Viatorian Community experienced an exciting new milestone earlier this year, with the opening of its second school in Colombia. Colegio San Viator in Tunja opened its doors as a Viatorian-run school — with an enrollment more than double its previous year, and with a waiting list for the next school year. Set amid the eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes, the school features all the qualities of a Viatorian education, namely one that is faith-based, co-educational, bilingual and pastoral, with professed Viatorians on staff. Fr. Pedro Herrara, CSV, serves as president. Ironically, he attended Colegio San Viator in Bogotá and was the first religious vocation to come out of the school. Now, he is paying his Viatorian education forward. We caught up with him recently to learn what makes Colegio San Viator in Tunja so special and why so many families are enrolling their children.
It sounds like there was a lot of excitement before Colegio San Viator opened in Tunja. It was an existing school already, run by a different religious order. What makes a Viatorian school such a big draw?
I think that the Viatorians have built a reputation of providing a quality education and an immense concern for Christian formation throughout their 55 years of presence in Colombia. There is no doubt that our school in Bogotá is very well recognized in the country, and since it is located in one of the main entrances to Bogotá, the people of Tunja have been seeing it for years.
What made the Viatorians in Colombia want to take on running another school?
Starting Colegio San Viator in Tunja is an opportunity for the people of Tunja to have another choice and style of education, a different one. Although in the city there are already three schools with many years of experience, led by religious congregations, ours offers a new form of education for children and young people.
It sounds like you hit the ground running, with a robust enrollment right when you opened the school doors this semester.
One reason why we had a high and rapid increase of students this year is due to the marketing work carried out by the three Viatorians assigned there. Between myself, Br. Fredy Contreras and Br. Juan Carlos Ubaque, we all knew we were going to be running the school. We began an intense marketing campaign in September and continued until January of this year.
How do you see the Viatorian charism playing out in the school?
The Viatorian charism is being implanted with our presence, example and dedication. We work with teachers and members of the administrative team, firstly, making them feel part of the Viatorian mission. Little by little, with the treatment and closeness with our students and parents, our Viatorian charism extends throughout the school.
Viator House of Hospitality: Walking with Young Immigrants At Viator House, the young men live in a homelike environment where a case manager works with each participant to connect him with community resources and extend the needed affirmation to build his self-confidence and meet the many challenges that life presents. Besides the individual attention, all are encouraged to foster a community atmosphere through mutual respect, shared responsibilities and communal activities such as meals and recreational activities.
More than one dozen flags from different countries hang prominently at the new Viator House of Hospitality. They represent the countries of the young residents, who have come from wide-ranging cultures and now are finding support in the Viatorians’ newest ministry.
One example of the mutual respect fostered within the house is its interfaith component. Throughout the year, all are invited to participate in various religious holy days and an interfaith prayer room is always available. Furthermore, all are encouraged to connect with local faith communities that share their faith traditions. The celebration of each other’s faith is reflected in the current house census: three Christians and four Muslims. Previously, a Hindu young man lived there until he moved to Canada to be with his family.
The Viator House of Hospitality is a place of refuge for young male immigrants, who at the age of 18 have aged out of youth shelters and would otherwise be sent to adult detention. It offers hope to these young men by providing the educational, medical, legal, spiritual, physical and emotional support they need as well helping them naviagate their legal status. The house opened earlier this year and affirms a core statement from the Viatorian Charter, that the community focus on those counted of little importance by some.
Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, meet with Sr. Rayo Cuaya-Castillo, SH, left, case manager and Michael Yemane Gebermedhine, the second shift house coordinator
Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, began this ministry with the full support of the Viatorian Community. They, along with the case manager, Sr. Rayo Cuaya-Castillo, interview potential participants and monitor their progress within the house. “While Viatorians solely administer the house, several faith communities are supporting us through donations, volunteers, meals and accompaniment,” Br. Gosch says. This is a new venture for the Viatorian Community, but it fulfills a Vatican II mandate to religious communities that they rediscover the spirit of their founders. Young residents of the Viator House of Hospitality work on homework in a study room
In putting that statement into practice, Viatorians have for years directed their attention and actions toward the undocumented immigrant, currently one of the most marginalized segments of our society.
“In 1865, three Canadian Viatorians traveled from Canada to Bourbonnais, to minister to the French-speaking immigrants,” Br. Gosch adds. “In many ways, Viator House of Hospitality is a continuation of that ministry to immigrants.” Fr. Thomas Long, CSV
Peace Circles: Sharing Hopes and Challenges through Faith As tension mounts within the immigrant community in response to the increase of immigration raids, the Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity of the Archdiocese of Chicago has initiated “Circles of Peace.” Here, within the safe sanctuary of the parish church, immigrants gather to share their joys and concerns, learn about their rights and connect with community resources. Recently, St. Viator Parish in Chicago hosted a “Circle of Peace” session. Representatives from the Mexican Consulate were there to talk with those who wished to talk about their rights and any other concerns. Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, associate pastor at St. Viator and a native of Belize, opened the session with a prayer. “This is one way we as Viatorians fulfill that part of our mission statement that states that we reach out to people accounted of little importance,” Fr. Mesh said. “Some may consider them as ‘throwaways,’ We, as Christians and Viatorians, consider them as people of great dignity.” A representative from the Mexican consulate speaks to the crowd at St. Viator Parish
Those who came described the constant dread of undocumented immigrants: immigration officers pounding on their doors at 5 a.m., barging in, handcuffing one or more family member and leading them away, often in front of their children.
Children return home from school not sure if their parents will be there because they may have been stopped, asked for papers and led away. The anxiety within the immigrant community becomes heavier each day. As in ages past, immigrants have turned to the church for support in navigating the world around them and for strengthening their inner spirits in the midst of their daily struggles. Today is no exception. Each person at the St. Viator Circle of Peace was able to share their concerns with others experiencing similar stress, thus alleviating the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some of the questions they considered were, “What are we feeling at this moment?” “What do we think that God is telling us with all that is happening now?” “How can we respond to the community needs?” In dialogue within a respectful atmosphere, the experience afforded each one the opportunity to reach out from one’s self to listen to the other and together form a united front to face such difficult circumstances, or in other words, form a circle of peace. Fr. Thomas Long, CSV
In Memoriam... Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV (1946-2017) Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV, surrounded himself with books. As a professor emeritus of St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, with a doctorate in English literature and language, he loved reading — and writing. In fact, at the time of his passing he was in the middle of doing research for his next book, about the life and impact of author Jonathan Swift, who famously wrote “Gulliver’s Travels,” which was a favorite subject in many of the college courses he taught. Fr. Kass passed away March 13 at the age of 70. He was in the 52nd year of religious life and he would have celebrated 40 years of priesthood this summer. “He loved teaching,” said his classmate in the seminary and good friend, Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV. “All he ever wanted to be was a scholar and a college professor, which he was at St. Anselm’s. He loved his time there.”
Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV
Fr. Kass grew up in Chicago and entered the Viatorians in 1964, within months of graduating from St. Patrick High School. He professed his first vows in 1965 and ultimately was ordained to the priesthood in 1977 in Chicago.
As a young Viatorian, Fr. Kass was a dedicated student. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Loyola University in 1968, before earning a master’s degree in English literature and language from the University of Chicago in 1969. He would go on to earn a doctorate in the same field from Loyola University in 1989, where he specialized in 18th century British literature. In fact, his dissertation analyzed the writings of Samuel Johnson, someone who continued to fascinate him all of his life. “One of the things that interested him about Samuel Johnson was the fact that he wrote the first English dictionary —which was the only one for the next 100 years,” says Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial. “It was regarded as one of the greatest achievements of the time.” Fr. von Behren was a student of Fr. Kass back at Griffin High School in Springfield, where Fr. Kass taught English and religion for a total of nine years, in the 1970s and early 1980s. In between those years, he taught the same subjects at Saint Viator High School (19771979). “Everyone called him Pick because he was very picky,” Fr. von Behren recalled fondly. Fr. Thomas Kass, CSV, preaching in 2015 on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of religious life “But he set the bar very high at Griffin.” Upon completing his doctorate, Fr. Kass joined the faculty at St. Anselm, first as an assistant professor of English and ultimately associate professor, before he retired in 2008. His confreres fondly recall traveling to see Fr. Kass and the campus of St. Anselm in 2002, when he celebrated his 25th jubilee in the priesthood. In retirement, Fr. Kass returned to Chicago where he served the Viatorian Community as director of pre-novices, novices, priestly formation and as the formation team chair, until 2015. Eileen O’Grady Daday
Celebrating our Jubilarians... Fr. William Mayer, CSV This year, Fr. William Mayer celebrates 70 years as a member of the Clerics of St. Viator. Like many of his confreres, he was educated by Viatorians, both at St. Patrick High School in Kankakee and at Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield, where upon graduating in 1946, Fr. Mayer entered the Viatorian novitiate. He professed his first vows in 1947. As a Viatorian, he earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA, before earning a master’s degree in sociology from Catholic University of America in Washington. He was ordained a priest at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1956 in Washington. Fr. Mayer’s years of ministry began with 20 years of teaching social studies and religion at the high school level. His assignments took him to Spalding Institute in Peoria and St. Philip High School in Chicago, as well as St. Patrick High School (later Bishop McNamara) in Kankakee, from 1960-1966, before serving the next four years as principal of Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee. In 1978, Fr. Mayer began teaching adults, first at St. Bede Priory in Eau Claire, Wisc., before teaching adults at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in LaCrosse. He also taught adults at the churches of St. Mary and St. Eulalia in Westchester, MA, before returning to the Midwest, where he found new life serving the people at Holy Ghost Parish in Wood Dale, IL. He retired in 2005. In celebrating 70 years of ministry, his Viatorian confreres recall his dedication to the many he has served and his quiet steady manner.
Fr. Richard Rinn. CSV Fr. Richard Rinn will celebrate 50 years of religious life in September. He entered the Viatorian novitiate after graduating from Saint Viator High School, and one year later, in 1967, he professed his first vows. While a Viatorian, Fr. Rinn went on to earn his undergraduate degree in history from Loyola University before earning a master’s degree in administration from Northwestern University and a master’s in divinity from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He began his career as a teacher at Saint Viator High School, from 1971-1977, before studying for the priesthood. Upon his ordination in 1981, Fr. Rinn was assigned to Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, where from 1981-1993 he would hold a number of positions, from teacher and counselor to assistant principal, principal and president. During his last year at Bishop Gorman, Fr. Rinn was asked to serve his community as assistant provincial, calling him back to the Province Center in Arlington Heights. Some six years later, in 1998, he assumed the duties of president of Saint Viator High School. However, in 1999, he returned to Las Vegas to take on the role of pastor of St. Viator Catholic Community, where he continues to serve. He and his faithful Scotch terrier, Sox, are a favorite with the more than 2,000 families in the parish. Fr. Rinn leads a staff that includes several Viatorians: Fr. Lawrence Lentz, CSV, as associate pastor, Fr. Bill Haesaert, CSV, sacramental minister, and Br. Michael Rice, CSV, as plant manager. “I am blessed beyond words,” Fr. Rinn says. “I do what I like and I like what I do.”
Br. Donald Houde, CSV
Viatorians: Still Opening New Schools For the first time in 50 years, the Clerics of St. Viator have opened a new school. In September, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, announced that the Viatorians would assume responsibility of a school in Tunja, Colombia. Tunja is a historic city — founded in 1538 — with a population of 243,000 in its metropolitan area, and set in the eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes. Originally called Colegio Cristo Rey and run by the Congregation de Religiosas Hijas de Cristo Rey, or the Religious Daughters of Christ the King, the school had gradually been losing enrollment. In February, the school re-opened as Colegio San Viator Tunja. The school has ample green space, as well as modern sports and artistic facilities, a library, cafeteria and a modern administration building. “This is a new day in the Foundation of Colombia,” Fr. von Behren said. “We now have two major schools in Colombia, along with two parishes. “There are several buildings and a lot of land,” he added, “so we expect to grow its enrollment over the next few years.”
When school opened this year, it had 474 students, or more than twice the number as last year. Next year, its Viatorian administrators expect to have 600 students.
Colegio San Viator Tunja educates students from preschool through high school and features all the qualities of a Viatorian education, namely one that is faith-based, co-educational, bilingual and pastoral, with professed Viatorians on staff. “The objective is that our graduates be young men and women who are well formed academically but solid and committed to our country, and, of course, happy,” Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, president of the colegio, said in a March interview with Siete Dias, a Colombian newspaper. The colegio also is working to become certified as an International Baccalaureate school, just as Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. “That guarantees that the students will more easily gain access to universities in this country and throughout the world,” Fr. Herrera adds, “and even recognize certain courses in careers such as engineering, languages and exact sciences so that they do not have to repeat them in university.” Br. Fredy Contreras, CSV
From the Archives: Viatorian Contributions to World War I Exactly 100 years ago, on April 16, 1917, the United States entered World War I, declaring war on Germany. This milestone anniversary prompted research in the Viatorian Community Archives to find out more about how Viatorians were involved in the war. St. Viator College in Bourbonnais experienced the biggest impact. The school saw a significant drop in enrollment during the war years due to military enlistments of students, teachers and coaches. They left their quiet campus life to take up the life of a soldier to “make the world safe for democracy.” Although it caused sadness and regret, it proved to be a source of joy and pride for this campus. The Class of 1917 was known as the ‘War Class.’ Their class memorial to their alma mater was a flag pole and a U.S. flag, which was dedicated on May 30, 1917. It was noted in the school newspaper that never before had such a demonstration of love and patriotism for God and country taken place on the campus. In June 1918, five of the best students and one faculty member went through an intensive training course at Fort Sheridan in order to establish a military training program at the college. It was called the Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC) and soon after the program was in place, St. Viator College became a successful military camp alongside the college program. Military training was compulsory at the college. Students trained to become reserve commissioned officers under the supervision of a commissioned Army officer. Their training included four hours a week of military tactics along with their academic courses. St. Viator was represented in every branch of the service and was proud of its record. A St. Viator College service flag was created to signify the school’s wartime efforts, representing St. Viator’s gift of humanity. The flag, dedicated on George Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1918, flew triumphantly over the campus to tell its story as the war played out. By the end of the war, the flag displayed 423 blue stars. That number represented its St. Viator sons who had served, 22 blue crosses for the chaplains educated at St. Viator College, 11 crimson stars for the number who were wounded or gassed and 15 gold stars for those who died. Although the fighting stopped with the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, Viatorian patriotism and military compliance continued. In February, 1919, St. Viator College established a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), which was approved by the War Department. The cadets were trained in mechanical movements of close order, exhibition drills and other maneuvers. This program, which had optional enrollment, trained members who then could be called upon in an emergency. The Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, and finally ended World War I. Soon after, the Class of 1919 dedicated a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to honor the Viatorian war heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This small college campus in the Midwest played a significant role in the “war to end all wars,” and its patriotism is part of its historic legacy.
Joan Sweeney Viatorian Associate and Archivist
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Newsletter – Spring 2017 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Around the Province...
This issue of Around the Province offers updates on the latest assignments of Viatorians and highlights their ministries around the country.
Way before this year’s major league baseball season opened, students at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais sported what looked like Chicago Cubs’ jerseys. A closer look revealed the “C” on the front stood for Catholic while on the back was the tagline, “Flying the W with God.” They wore them to a confirmation retreat and closing Mass, celebrated by Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor. Even his associate pastor, Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, and a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan, was impressed. “Even I have the Cubs to thank for making a lot of people happy – and raising peoples’ spirits,” Fr. Nesbit said. “Besides, in a fun way, people are enthusiastic about expressing their Catholic faith.” Parishioners at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas and St. Thomas More in Henderson, NV, did a double take earlier this month. That’s because Viatorians at both parishes did a “pulpit exchange,” when they celebrated Mass at one another’s parishes. Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, Fr. Mike Keliher, CSV, and Fr. Alan Syslo, CSV, preached at St. Viator, while Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, Fr. Lawrence Lentz, CSV, and Fr. Bill Haesaert, CSV, said all the Masses at St. Thomas More. “Our Viatorian Community has a long commitment to both parishes where we have been blessed to serve and minister,” Fr. Egan said to his parishioners. “A pulpit exchange is a way to share the gifts and talents of the Viatorians with both parish communities. It’s always a positive experience to hear new voices, new experiences and new Fr. Alan Syslo, CSV, greets parishioners of St. Viator Catholic Community during perspectives and hopefully this pulpit the pulpit exchange exchange provided that.” When Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, left Saint Viator High School last year, he pledged to spend more time helping immigrants and working toward immigration reform. He continues to work toward those goals as codirector of the Viator House for Hospitality, as well as promoting interfaith dialogue. Fr. Corey also remains committed to working with young
people. In January, he led a delegation of nine college-age young adults from Viatorian ministry sites — St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, St. Viator Parish in Chicago, Saint Viator High School and Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep — to Nogales, Arizona, on Bishop Gerald Kicanas, third from left, met the Mexican border, where they with young people visiting the Mexican border reflected on immigration and faith. The young people met with migrants as well as many of people of faith who advocate for their rights, including Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, bishop of Tucson, whom they spent time with at the border. The group also heard firsthand from border patrol agents about their roles. Fr. Corey plans to lead similar trips every six months. Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, continues to advocate for more dynamic liturgies in his speeches around the world. As president of Catholic Theological Union, and a liturgical scholar, Fr. Francis is often asked to address international groups about the benefits of inculturation in the liturgy. Last fall, he spoke at the national meeting of diocesan liturgical commissions in Albany, NY, and his speech was reprinted in the February newsletter of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. His topic? The Liturgy as an Anecdote to the Globalization of Indifference. Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, continues to work with Mrs. Rita King at Saint Viator High School in developing an adult and family faith formation program. Some of their activities include organizing service opportunities and prayer services for faculty members, a Lenten book club, quarterly family Masses and regular e-blasts to the school community that feature reflections on the Gospel from Viatorians. These opportunities offer more than spiritual renewal. They help Saint Viator High School meet one of the core standards for effective Catholic schools, as published by the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at Loyola University in Chicago.
Viator Newsletter 2017 Spring