Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, and his St. George Parish in Bourbonnais are dedicating this Advent to reflecting on the various ministries in the Bourbonnais/Kankakee region — and the need for vocations. Associate David Surprenant steps up first:

“With 15 years of being a Viatorian Associate under my belt, the charism of Fr. Querbes (Viatorian founder) still rings loud and clear. It is a message of spreading the Word of Jesus Christ and building up communities of faith.

“We are entrusted to educating the young and old by teaching the faith and celebrating Eucharist. We also use our voices and actions to help those of little importance; the homeless, the immigrant, the hungry.

“I have been blessed to be able to teach probably hundreds of St. George youth and adults. I started teaching 4th grade in 1976, moving up to the Confirmation classes, and now bringing adults into the Catholic faith in the RCIA program.

“One of the main topics I teach has been what is written in Latin on our altar here in St. George, “Caritas Christi Urget Nos”. Translated it means “The Love of Christ Urges Us On.”

“Christ compels us! Christ calls us! So what is Christ calling us to do? To go out in our communities and the world to be a beacon of hope and love to all those around us. To encourage others to do the same by living our faith thus “teaching” young and old alike how to be a Christian.

“We (parents, grandparents, family, and friends) also need to encourage vocations in all youth and young adults that we are truly happy when we dedicate our lives to Christ as religious, married, or single people. It is up to us to spread the Good News and encourage others to live a life with Christ.

“It is up to YOU to be that beacon! It is so appropriate at this time of year to think of Advent and the 150th anniversary of our church structure simultaneously. We need to look forward to the future, our yearning for Jesus during Advent. Our need for people to dedicate their lives to Christ.

“We then look back at what our ancestors accomplished, they too yearned for Christ. They had vision to build a building to sustain their faith for receiving the Eucharist. Our vision, our yearning needs to be as strong!”