Viatorians have served at rural parishes in Illinois ever since they arrived in this country, more than 150 years ago from Canada. That special ministry continues, with Viatorians serving at small parishes in Kankakee and Iroquois counties in central Illinois.
Recently, two of those parishes combined for confirmation. Seventh and eighth graders from St. Anne Church in St. Anne, IL and St. Mary’s Church in Beaverville worked with confirmation catechist, Kim Emerson, to prepare for the sacrament.
It took place May 14, fittingly, on the vigil of Penecost. Abbot Hugh Anderson, OSB, was the confirming prelate and he took great interest in the 17 students and their service projects completed as part of their preparations.
Fr. James Fanale, CSV, pastor of St. Anne and Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor of St. Mary’s, concelebrated the Mass.
“Our confirmation program is heavy on social action and Scripture,” says Fr. Fanale, who has led St. Anne Parish for 20 years.
One of the larger projects students completed was a Valentine’s Day Bingo party, which the young teens hosted in St. Anne’s Parish Hall. They welcomed seniors from the area as well as residents of a nearby assisted living facility, and hosted them to lunch and several rounds of Bingo — with prizes.
“The Bingo party it is always the candidates’ favorite,” Kim Emerson says. “They can practice stewardship and have fun with our parishoners at the same time.”
Every summer, confirmation students host a children’s program during the parish’s annual St. Anne Novena, they collected food for the Salvation Army, and last winter they organized a coat drive for needy children.