A funny thing happened on the first day of class at Catholic Theological Union, when the teacher, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, realized one of the students was another Viatorian, Br. John Eustice, CSV. Monday was the first day for his class, “Eucharist and Sacramental Theology.”

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV

Though it was held virtually, knowing one of the students was from his own community allowed Fr. Francis this advantage: if no one answered a question, he called on Br. Eustice.

“This happened more than once,” Br. Eustice says with a laugh.

Br. Eustice is working on his Master’s degree in Divinity, with a view toward ordination, while also serving part time as director of vocation ministry for the Viatorians. He is among 22 students in the class, who come from more than eight countries. Online students are from Louisiana and as far away as China.

Br. John Eustice, CSV

“As soon as I learned he was teaching it I wanted to sign up,” Br. Eustice says. “He represents a long tradition of Viatorians from our province who have served as university professors. Both he and Fr. Jack Linnan have incredible legacies at CTU. One of my other professors quoted Jack yesterday.”

In taking a class taught by Fr. Francis, he is studying from a master. Fr. Francis formerly was an an associate professor of liturgy at CTU, before he earned a doctorate in liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo in Rome.

Fr. Francis returned this month to CTU after teaching a one semester doctural seminar on liturgy and culture at Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

Prior to his semester in Washington, Fr. Francis served as president of CTU for seven years, from 2013-2020. He also was elected to two terms as Superior General of the Viatorian Community and since 2017 has served on its Provincial Council.

But the chance to return to the classroom — and teach divinity students as part of their formation — brings Fr. Francis back full circle. He earned his Master’s in Divinity there, in 1982, and will celebrate 40 years of priesthood in May.