St. George Parish in Bourbonnais, IL, dates back to 1848 and Viatorians have served as
pastors of the rural community since 1898, yet the church continues to stay relevant and re-invent itself to meet current needs.
That was the case on Oct. 16, when Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, arrived to bless the parish’s newest undertaking, its Father Querbes Youth Ministry Center.
“This 3,000 square foot building will provide desperately needed religious education classrooms,” says Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor, “along with the designated youth ministry and office space.”
He adds that over the last several years, St. George has experienced as much as 41 percent growth in religious education students. With limited space in the parish hall, the church community has had to close enrollment this year in three grade levels.
“We know today that young people learn in far different ways than the way they did just 10 years ago,” Fr. Belanger says. “Studies show that meeting young people where they are, and equipping them with opportunities and experiences leads to a more fulfilling faith journey, and will impact them both now and in the future.”
The Viatorian Community made a significant grant to advance the project and parish families are being asked to pledge a monthly amount to cover the remaining costs in a yearlong capital campaign.
“We are called by the gospels to share time, talent and treasure,” Fr. Belanger said to parish families. “Christ teaches us: ‘Let the little ones come unto me.’ (Mark 10:14)”