On the second day of the Provincial Assembly, when Viatorian associates, brothers and priests discussed ways to be a prayerful and synodal church, they ended the day by celebrating Mass with their jubilarians.
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad,” said Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, one of the jubilarians and the main celebrant.
In all, the Viatorian Community in the Chicago Province has eight jubilarians, who collectively span more than 400 years of religious life. Their ministries have stretched from Illinois to Nevada and California, and as far away as Bogotá, Colombia. Over those years, they have taught generations of students and accompanied countless families through the highs and sorrows of life, and all while proclaiming the gospel and working to raise up communities of faith.
Not all of them were there, but Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, was on hand to celebrate 75 years of religious life. Most of his years in ministry have been spent teaching all levels of mathematics, including 50 years at Saint Viator High School. When asked if, like the prophet Samuel, he heard the Lord calling him, Fr. Perham said yes. But when asked if he realized as a young novice where his life as a religious would take him, he laughed and said no.
Fr. Bolser celebrates 60 years of religious life and 50 years as a priest. Over those many decades, he has served as a teacher and then in the administration of high schools in Illinois and Nevada.
“I have been honored to serve at baptisms, first communions, graduations, weddings and funerals,” Fr. Bolser said. “Today, I thoroughly enjoy meeting middle aged and elderly adults, whom I enjoyed getting to know when they were infants and teenagers, struggling to grow, and who are now enjoying their children and grandchildren.”
Br. Patrick Drohan, CSV, also celebrates 60 years of religious life, serving all of those years at Villa Desiderata Retreat Center in McHenry, IL. His confrere, Fr. Erwin Savela, CSV, also celebrates 60 years of religious life. The first decades of his ministry were spent in education, before he served in parish ministry. Most recently, he has been a hospital chaplain in California.
Fr. Daniel Nolan, CSV, celebrates 50 years of religious life. He too spent the first half of his ministry in education before moving to sacramental ministry as a pastor in Las Vegas. More recently, he served as a hospital chaplain in California and in Illinois, before retiring.
Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, also celebrates 50 years of religious life. He was among the first group of students to attend a Viatorian school in Bogotá before entering the Viatorian Community 10 years later. He was a teacher and administrator at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, his alma mater, before serving as president of the Viatorians’ second school in Colombia, Colegio San Viator in Tunja.
Another Colombian, Fr. Edgar Suárez, CSV, was on hand to celebrate 25 years of religious life. He began his ministry as a teacher, but has spent the bulk of his years in parish ministry. Currently, he serves as pastor of San Viator Parish in Bogotá.
Finally, Fr. Carlos Claro, CSV, celebrates 25 years of priesthood. He has served as a teacher and administrator at Colegio San Viator and in pastoral ministry, and for the last year has worked as a hospital chaplain, all in Bogotá.