As men consider God’s invitation for them and the potential of Viatorian formation, they should consider that we are looking for the following qualities:
Men who feel they possess these qualities and discern an invitation from God to join the Viatorians can seek the following formation with our community.
The Viatorian Contact Program is available to any high school graduate who wishes to actively search out whether or not he has a vocation as a brother or priest but is not yet ready to join a religious community or a diocesan seminary program as a resident. Discernment describes a process of becoming aware of God’s active presence in one’s life and for making important decisions based on that awareness. It involves gathering pertinent information and experience, developing one’s talents, praying for guidance and openness, seeking spiritual direction, and taking time for serious reflection. God calls each of us to live and work with Him in some special way.
The candidate lives in one of our Viatorian houses and works with some of our men in a Viatorian-sponsored ministry. The purpose of the program is to provide the candidate with a gradual introduction to a more intensive Christian community/living experience. During this time, the candidate has the opportunity to get to know us better and to search out his vocation with the assistance of a director. The length of the program is determined by individual need. The minimum length of the program is one year. Our Pre-Novitiate Program is deliberately flexible in order to provide for the needs of men who come to us at varying ages and with varying educational backgrounds.
The overall goal of the Pre-Novitiate Experience is to provide candidates with a valid experience of religious life. This experience is an important element in the continued discernment of the personal vocation of the candidate. The program normally lasts one year, but it may be altered for sufficient reason.
The Novitiate is the most important period of formation. It introduces the novice to a deeper experience of prayer, community living, and the dynamics of individual growth and development. It also provides him with some apostolic experience and guides him in his study of scripture, spirituality, traditions of the congregation and the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Under the guidance of the novice master, the novice more deeply reflects upon his relationship with God and his decision to live the vowed life as a Viatorian. The Novitiate is a one-year program.
Upon completion of the Novitiate, the Viatorian brother professes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for a three-year period. Temporary vows may be renewed after this initial period, or the candidate may request permanent/perpetual vows. During the period of temporary vows, the Brother is given the time, training, environment, and experience he needs to make a lifelong commitment as a Viatorian. He normally lives in one of our local communities and works in some area of our apostolate for at least two years. Then, if he intends to continue as a Viatorian brother, he begins advanced studies or training at whatever school or organization best suits his and the Community’s needs. If he desires to become a Viatorian priest, he may request to begin his theological studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he will pursue the required curriculum for ordination to the priesthood.
If a Viatorian Brother discerns an invitation from God to become a Viatorian priest, he is required to pursue graduate theological studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This program of professional theological study and ministerial formation normally takes four years in order to fulfill the requirements established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for ordination to the priesthood. The first three years involve a curriculum of formal theological studies which terminates, at the end of three years, in the student receiving the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Catholic Theological Union.
Ordination to the diaconate ordinarily takes place at the end the Spring semester of the third year of this program of theological studies and ministerial formation. The fourth year engages the Viatorian Deacon in a program termed the Deacon Internship Program. This program is normally a year long; it is spent in residence at a Viatorian parish and the deacon is mentored by a Viatorian pastor and by the Viatorian director of priestly formation. Upon successful completion of all components of this program for priestly formation, the Viatorian deacon may request ordination to the priesthood in the late Spring of his deacon internship.
Viatorian Brothers who discern God’s invitation to continue as Brothers often complete a one- or two-year certificate and/or degree program in theology or religious education. This graduate theological education usually occurs at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Loyola University in Chicago, DePaul University in Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, or other Catholic Universities. These graduate professional programs help prepare the Viatorian Brother for a variety of ministries including teaching, campus ministry, parish ministry, and social justice ministry.