Where do you go from here?BVM delegation

That was the parting question asked of the nearly 50 delegates and one dozen young adult leaders who convened this week for the 7th annual Viatorian Youth Congress.

After four days immersed in prayer, discussion groups, sharing Eucharist together and learning about social justice — all at the Bellarmine Retreat Center in Barrington, IL — the congress came to an emotional close.Mass

But not before each delegation met to discuss action plans they intended to bring back to their own communities, to help empower people living on the margins of society.

“Everything I’ve heard here, hits home,” said Miranda Walters, 18, of Kankakee, who attended the congress for the fourth straight year.

“I love the whole feeling of community here,” she added. “We’re all coming from parishes and schools from across the country, but we all find common ground with the Viatorians.”DSC_0397-copy-min

Delegates were surrounded by the Viatorian charism, from everything they heard, saw and met. They gathered for large group presentations in a room decked out with a timeline featuring highpoints in the Viatorian ministry in this country, starting in 1865.discussing

When delegations retreated to their small group rooms, each one contained an image from the Viatorians and virtually everything they discussed had something to do with the charism of reaching out to help those “accounted of little importance.”

Associate Karen Cutler directed the congress and one of her main goals was to mix teens with as many Viatorians as possible during their stay.Abrahamian_ Beiswenger

“I think we succeeded with that,” she said. “Viatorians served as delegation leaders, presenters, celebrants at Mass and many new associates were interviewed and introduced to the large group.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, helped design the unique congress seven years ago, and he was on hand every day of this year’s event.

“The VYC helps our young faith leaders realize that they are part of a worldwide family,” Fr. Brost said, “that is changing the world.”