It has been more than 50 years since the Christopher Cup was established at Saint Viator High School, in memory of Christopher Erdmann, who succumbed to leukemia in 1968.
Decades later, his memory is reflected each year in the one senior who best exemplifies the spirit of St. Viator through outstanding service, spirituality, leadership and integrity. The award was announced during Saint Viator’s graduation ceremony on May 22 and is eagerly anticipated. Names of the annual winners are etched on the award, known as the Christopher Cup.
“In my mind, it is the oldest and most prestigious award the school gives,” says Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, former school president and current Superior General of the Viatorians. He also was a member of the class of 1969, was one year younger than Erdmann, and remembers the emotion that surrounded his passing.
This year, the recipient holds a special place in the Viatorian Community. Jack Lynch accepted the award from Associate Brian Liedlich, president, and he embodies all of the selection criteria. Jack has excelled in academics and plans to study biomedical sciences on a pre-dental track at Marquette University. But he also sang in all of the choral ensembles at Saint Viator, starred in the musicals, captained the golf team and was a leader in the campus ministry and retreat programs — to name just a few of his many accomplishments!
It turns out that learning about the value of a Viatorian education started early for Jack. He is the great-nephew of a beloved Viatorian, Fr. John Puisis, CSV, who passed away 10 years ago. Jack and his family used to visit with Fr. Puisis after he retired to the Viatorian Province Center in the late 1990s, until his death in 2011, where they listened to stories of his more than 70 years in ministry.
Fr. Puisis served at a variety of Viatorian high schools and parishes, but his longest assignment was teaching English for 14 years at St. Viator Rakusei High School in Kyoto, Japan. Fr. Puisis was one of five Viatorians to accept this missionary assignment, of traveling to Japan after the end of World War II to establish a boys’ high school and parish.
“He had that missionary spirit,” said his former confrere, Fr. Frank White, CSV, who taught in Japan with Fr. Puisis, “of wanting to share the faith.”