Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, celebrated a rare milestone today: 70 years of religious life.
He entered the Viatorian Community on Aug. 15, 1948, as a novice at the age of 19, and he has spent his entire adult life as a teacher, mathematician and religious.
He spent the jubilee quietly, starting with daily Mass with his confreres at the Viatorian Province Center. But he reflected on the milestone earlier this month, when he preached at a special Mass of thanksgiving for all of the Viatorian jubilarians. Here is a sampling from his homily:
“As I prepared for this homily, I was reminded of our mission, to proclaim Jesus Christ and his gospel, and to raise up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.
“If we look at our jubilarians, we see men who have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, of all ages — in parishes and schools — who have worshipped with us and discovered with us a way to share the Viatorian charism.
“During those years of service, they have faithfully and creatively responded to an ever changing ministerial and social landscape.
“Yet to raise up communities of faith, it requires deeper faith, more creativity, more collaboration and more re-thinking.
“As I look back at who brought us to this journey, it elicits wonder and awe. Our family, our Viatorian Community, they all shaped my life.
“I truly believe that our Viatorian charism is as strong and vibrant today as ever. Even though our number of professed religious is down, it is because of our ongoing belief in God’s revelation that takes flesh in the Viatorian Community, as is shared through our work and in our lives.
“May we all be signs of that peace and hope in our world. And through our lives, may we give witness to the faith we profess, the charism we embrace and all that we do, and do it in the name of the Lord.”