Members of the Viatorian Community rejoice with the rest of the country at Pope Francis’ historic visit this week.Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on 19 March 2013.

“Pope Francis is asking us to find new ways to hear the word of God — and to act on it,” said Fr. John Milton, CSV, during his homily Tuesday morning, that reflected on the papal visit and his mandate to care for our common home.

Signs of the pope’s influence on the Viatorian Community and the people they serve, can be found across the Chicago Province.priests for immigrants for justice

Days before the Holy Father arrived, members of the Viatorian Community signed a letter addressed to Pope Francis, pledging support for his call for compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.

The letter was drafted by the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, and was delivered personally to the pontiff by Archbishop Blase Cupich.

“We welcome your visit to these shores and pledge our continued prayers, first and foremost, for our immigrant brothers and sisters and all of the poor and oppressed of our world,” the letter reads. “(We pray) also for you, as you call us all to lift up the little ones, the oppressed, the impoverished and abused ones, that through us they may witness the power of God’s gracious and abundant mercy.”Pope Francis Encyclical

In Las Vegas, on the eve of the pope’s U. S. visit, more than 100 parishioners of St. Thomas More Catholic Community attended a session that reflected on ways to act on the pope’s encyclical on caring for the environment — and its effect on the poor — Laudato Si’.

“He certainly has re-energized lots of folks,” says Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, St. Thomas More pastor.

In another move that signaled solidarity with the pope, Fr. Tom Long, CSV, led one of three pilgrimages on Saturday that ended up at Chicago’s Federal Building, where followers took part in a prayer vigil. The service was timed with the 10th anniversary of the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, and organized by Priests for Justice for Immigrants, of which Fr. Long is a member.