The Clerics of St. Viator is one of three religious communities to work together in founding the Cristo Rey Institute. This new organization — which is based at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, IL — is a pontifical public juridic person (PJP) whose purpose is to offer another means of ensuring Catholic identity for schools within the Cristo Rey Network.

To date, the Cristo Rey Institute has provided sponsorship and formation work for two new Cristo Rey schools: Cristo Rey Miami High School in 2022 and Cristo Rey Orange County High School in 2023.

This week, the Cristo Rey Institute announced it had received an in-kind and a $10,000 cash donation from the nationally renowned Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities. The Delaware-based Raskob Foundation has a nearly 80-year legacy of grantmaking and philanthropic activities in service to the Catholic Church. The foundation provides resources in support of organizations, ministries, programs and projects associated with the Church throughout the world.

“We are especially thankful to the Raskob Foundation for being the first national Catholic charitable foundation to recognize and encourage our Catholic sponsorship and formation work for two new schools in Florida and California,” says Matthew Couture, board president. “We intend to build on our successes there by sponsoring additional new Cristo Rey Network high schools in other area of the country.”

In 2017, Viatorians joined with the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS, in starting the Cristo Rey Institute. Viatorians on its board include Associate John Dussman, who serves as executive director and an ex-officio member of the board, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial, and Associate James Thomas, CFO of the Viatorians.

“While having a religious order or congregation to sponsor a Cristo Rey high school is often the best choice, not all areas of our country have religious available to provide sponsorship,” Couture says. “This is especially the case in those parts of our country where the Church is growing.

Associate James Thomas

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV

Executive Director John Dussman

“In these places, the need for new, Catholic educational institutions is especially strong,” he adds. “For Catholic education to flourish, the Church needs to develop new models to ensure Catholic identity for Catholic schools of the future. That is why the Cristo Rey Institute exists.”

In expressing thanks for the donations, Dussman noted the Cristo Rey Institute’s alignment with the Raskob Foundation’s goals, with a famous quote from one of the co-founders of the foundation, John J. Raskob: “Go ahead and do things, the bigger the better, as long as your fundamentals are sound.”