Viatorians have devoted themselves to accompanying young people on their faith journeys since the days of Fr. Louis Querbes, who founded the community, in part with that mission. Between working in schools and parishes, Viatorians work to meet the sacramental and social justice needs of young people.
The latest initiative conceived by the Province of Chicago took place last month. That’s when Br. John Eustice, CSV, Director of Vocation Ministry for the Viatorians, worked with Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, and Dan Masterton to organize a young adult think tank, of sorts. Just what can Viatorians do for young adults to stay connected, they asked.
A total of 13 young people — from Viatorian institutions in Arlington Heights, Bourbonnais, Chicago, Las Vegas and Waukegan, IL — accepted their invitation to spend the day at the Province Center, in prayer, reflection and discussion.
“We’re glad you’re here this morning,” said Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Provincial, who greeted them before they broke for lunch to meet with retired Viatorians.
At issue was how Viatorians can remain connected with young people after they graduate from their schools and parishes, and age out of the Viatorian Youth Congress. Not only that, but the organizers wanted to learn the extent that the church is present — or not present — with young adults.
“I learned from the Viatorians how to make my faith come alive and how to put faith in action,” said Tyler Harris, a 2014 Saint Viator High School graduate. “I’m here for the discussion and reflection, but I also want to see what we can do to make faith come alive for our peers.”
Patrick Aller, a parishioner of Saint Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas participated in the Viatorian Youth Congress as a delegate and as a leader, but he wants to do more with the Viatorians, he said.
“In high school, there were Kairos retreats and service projects, and the Viatorian Youth Congress in the summer,” Patrick said, “but after college we’re seeking ways to deepen our faith.”
The group ultimately suggested the best social media outlets to reach young adults — Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat — as well as tangible ways to stay connected, from podcasts and notes of encouragement, to more service projects and college campus visits.
“I know the importance of having faith in dark times,” said Justin Daus, a parishioner of Saint Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas. “If Viatorians are not present during this critical time, then they are missing out on important work.”
The Viatorians are taking some time to reflect on this valuable input of young adults. As they discern their next steps, they already have scheduled a “young adult Mass” with Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, aimed at reaching current college students. Further steps are coming.