Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, attended the installation of Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, as Superior General with a unique perspective: Fr. Francis not only served two terms as Superior General (2000-2012), he attended high school with his good friend, Fr. Egan.
Together with Fr. Thomas Langenfeld, CSV, who served the congregation as Superior General from 1972-1984, they are the only Americans to lead the international community.
Among the Chicago delegation who traveled to Vourles, France for the installation, four were Saint Viator High School graduates, and another is an administrator at the high school now. Fr. Francis reflected on their connection after he returned to Chicago, where he serves as President of Catholic Theological Union.
“Who would have thought that back in the 1960s, two of the high school students on the northern bus route that served Saint Viator High School would be Superiors General of the Viatorians?
“Counting Fr. Richard Rinn and Mick’s brother, Rich, there were four graduates of St. Viator High School present at the Mass of Profession. Accompanied by Fr. Dan Hall (vice president for identity and mission, and now acting Provincial) we went together to the village cemetery where Fr. Louis Querbes, our founder, is buried.
“There we prayed for his beatification, and also for the many Viatorians who had led us to this historic moment. Much of the inspiration for this journey began at Saint Viator High School and the spirit of a community that eloquently witnessed to the Gospel through teaching and example.
“It was because of this witness that both Mick and I became Viatorians.
“Let us pray for Mick as he begins his term as Superior General,” Fr. Francis concluded, “and also give thanks for the many Viatorians who, by their example, made possible this choice of our new ‘first pastor of the Viatorian Community.’ ”