Collectively, they span nearly two centuries of religious life, whose ministries have stretched from Illinois to Nevada and California, and as far away as Bogotá, Colombia and Taiwan.
Their work has inspired students at eight different high schools and four colleges, while ministering to families at 18 parishes, and serving as chaplains to Vietnam veterans and those suffering from HIV/Aids.
“What a blessing,” said Fr. Alan Syslo, CSV, as he looked out over the assembly who gathered for jubilee Mass held at the Province Center chapel in Arlington Heights.
Fr. Syslo joined with Fr. John Van Wiel, CSV, in celebrating 50 years of priesthood. Their classmate, Fr. John Pisors, CSV, also reached his golden jubilee but he remained in Bogotá, where he serves on the faculty of Colegio San Viator.
Fr. Simon Lefebvre, CSV, the patriarch of the group, celebrated a rare milestone: 70 years of religious life and 60 years of priesthood. Notable among his many placements was serving as an assistant professor at a university in Taiwan, before serving as a professor of Chinese at the University of San Diego and ultimately spending the next 30 years in pastoral ministry in California.
Fr. Michael Keliher, CSV joined with
Fr. John Palmer, CSV, in celebrating 50 years of religious life. Fr. Keliher has served most of the last 20 years as an assistant pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Las Vegas, while Fr. Palmer served as a professor of music at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, while also performing as an organist at venues across the country and in Europe.
Fr. Fredy Santos, CSV, reached 25 years of religious life. The native of Colombia has worked in pastoral ministry in Bogotá, and currently is working in Hispanic ministry in the Kankakee region.
“Today, we give thanks that we’ve been able to serve the people of God in so many different ways,” Fr. Van Wiel said in his homily, “and pray for the grace to continue.”