Viatorians established St. Viator Parish in 1888, in Chicago, or more than 125 years ago, but the cornerstone for the present church was laid in November of 1928. Consequently, this fall will mark its 90th anniversary — and 90 years of people worshiping in this beautiful church.
Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, pastor and its parishioners have been working for several months to freshen up the church for this milestone anniversary, opting to enlist local volunteers rather than pay outside contractors.
And parishioners have stepped up. Last fall, more than 100 people turned out for a “service day.” They spent the morning cleaning the church, scrubbing pews, and working on landscaping and grounds across its campus. At the same time, two statues were donated to the front of the St. Joseph Center (the former convent) to enhance its surrounding courtyard.
Last week, a second service day drew members of the Men’s Club and another crew of parishioners who came forward to help. Their work included completing additional work in the church, landscaping around the extensive grounds, and in front of the St. Joseph Center.
“I am most grateful to each of them,” Fr. Render said, “for their hard work and the gift of their time.”
In a letter in the church bulletin, Fr. Render stressed that in addition to the work that was completed, these service days had helped to foster community-building in the parish, that crossed ethnicities, generations, and genders.
“That is an important goal of every parish and is one of the seven signs of ‘Mission Vitality’ by which each parish is measured,” Fr. Render said. “History tells us that the spirit of community has been a trademark of this parish throughout 90 years. Thanks to all of you who continue to build up that priority in the school and in the parish.”
A parish-wide celebration is planned for the weekend of Oct. 20-21, to coincide with the feast of St. Viator.