Ever since the Venerable Fr. Louis Querbes founded the Clerics of St. Viator, one of its recognizable icons is the crown of thorns, with the Latin phrase embossed around it: Sinite Parvulos Venire ad Me, or Let the little children come to me. The phrase is the motto of the Viatorians, which reflects one of their core missions, of educating the young.
That motto came to mind Saturday, when Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV, called all of the first communicants to sit on the steps of the altar as he reflected in his homily on their big day. He described receiving the Eucharist as part of a treasure hunt. As they looked around the sanctuary, they saw the Easter candle, listened to the gospel, saw the altar and eventually found the real treasure in the tabernacle.
“Every time I have a family Mass or preside over a children’s sacrament, I think of Fr. Querbes and how he was a teacher of faith to children,” Fr. Belanger said. “That is one of the Viatorians’ strengths, in how we serve the altar as religious and associates — and educate the young.”
The special day ended with a keepsake portrait for each communicant in front of a statue of the Mary. The photos are a tradition at St. George, reflecting parishioners’ strong devotion to the Blessed Mother — and each year their first communicants learn of her intercession.
That devotion — and the legacy of Fr. Querbes — extends to the church grounds, which prominently feature a replica of the Our Lady of Grace statue. The image holds a special place for Viatorians, since it was designed after the one at St. Nizier Church in Lyons, France, where the founder of the Viatorians, Fr. Querbes, served as pastor and established a special devotion to Mary during the month of May.