Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, returns to a leadership position within the Viatorian Community. After serving as Superior General of the worldwide Viatorian Community, from 2000 to 2012, and leading Catholic Theological Union as its president for the last seven years, Fr. Mark now will lead the U.S. Province as Provincial.
“I am humbled and challenged by the confidence my brother Viatorians have placed in me by my election as provincial,” Fr. Mark said. “We look upon the role of provincial as being the primary pastor of the province, elected to serve and care for all Viatorians in the US and Colombia.
“This role also entails being attentive to how we are accomplishing our mission as witnesses to Jesus Christ and followers of Fr. Louis Querbes our founder, who reached out to the poor, the young, and those on the periphery of society, assuring them of God’s love, care and concern,” he added. “I was able to say ‘yes’ to this challenge because of my confidence in the prayers and support of all the members of the province.”
Along with Fr. Mark, Viatorians elected Fr. Edgar Suarez, CSV, of Bogotá and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, of Las Vegas to serve on the Provincial Council. Fr. Mark later appointed Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, of Las Vegas as Assistant Provincial and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, to serve on the council.
These Viatorians will try to continue the leadership provided by the current Provincial Council, led by Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Provincial, Br. Gosch as Assistant Provincial and Fr. Mark Francis, Fr. Dan Lydon and Br. Rob Robertson as councilors.
The election of a new provincial happens once every four years, drawing professed Viatorians together from throughout the United States and Colombia. That was the case Friday, when more than 30 Viatorians gathered at the Province Center and nearly 20 convened in Bogotá, participating via Zoom, in electing a new Provincial Superior and members of his council.
Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, Superior General, oversaw the election, while Fr. Claudio Rios, CSV, Vicar General, oversaw the process in Colombia.
“We gather to celebrate as a community, the start of new leadership under Mark,” Fr. Egan said at Mass after the election, “and give thanks for all that Dan has done.”
Fr. Mark and members of the Provincial Council will be installed on Dec. 11 at the Province Center, during an Advent prayer service with members of the Arlington Heights and Chicago regions.
In returning to leadership, Fr. Mark brings a strong background to the role. He first met the Viatorians while attending Saint Viator High School, and he professed his first vows in 1976, five years after graduating. Fr. Mark earned a degree in history from Loyola University in Chicago, followed by his Masters in Divinity and a Master of Arts in Theology at CTU. He then earned his Doctorate in Liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo in Rome.