Throughout their history, Viatorians have committed themselves to educating young people in the faith. That mission was on full display Sunday at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, where high school teens served as leaders and mentors to eighth graders in the parish at their confirmation retreat.

Fr. Jason Nesbit

Maria Pallissard, religious education director, organized the retreat, while Carrie Rink, youth ministry director, oversaw the youth-led liturgy. Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, pastor, helped out as a presenter and celebrated the opening Mass. However, the young leaders did the rest, including helping with all parts of the Mass — as lectors, musicians, singers and ushers — and moderating group discussions and activities during the retreat.

Parish members in the pews even participated, extending their hands in a blessing upon the eighth grade confirmation students and their high school counterparts, who came from Maternity and St. Joseph’s parishes.

Young people helped out with music ministry at Mass.

“These young people fill my heart,” Pallissard said afterwards. “They share Christ with each other and the world at their level. They are full of joy, and they serve and love. And I’m sure today Jesus smiled at them!”

The afternoon retreat was filled with energy, from the icebreaker games like paper, scissors, rock; to the large and small group discussions, and a wild dodgeball game. It all added up to one more way of animating the Viatorian mission: raising up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.

This kind of collaboration between pastoral leaders and young people dates back to the beginning of the Viatorian Community, as expressed in its vision statement:

A competitive game of dodgeball

“As Viatorians, in the spirit of our founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, we minister to and with young people in the Church and are committed to their faith development and active membership in their respective faith communities.”