Let the meeting begin! The Viatorian Community Council is a unique form of participation, that brings professed and associates together twice a year, as an advisory board where every member counts.

Fr. Patrick Render, center, chairs the VCC meeting, with Associate Donna Schwarz as secretary and Associate David Surprenant of Bourbonnais

It formed in 2010, to advise the Provincial Council on matters of community life, ranging from concerns in formation, vocations and community life, to broader issues such as mission, spirituality and ministry.

“It’s totally unique,” said Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV. “Most religious communities have associates, but here we all have an equal voice.”

As a group, they include three priests, three religious brothers and six lay associates. They come from across the province, including the Henderson/Las Vegas region, as well as the Bourbonnais/Kankakee, and Arlington Heights/Chicago regions.

(L-R) Fr. Daniel Lydon of Bourbonnais, Fr. Daniel Hall of Arlington Heights, Associate Joan Sweeney of Arlington Heights and Associate Juliann Dwyer of Henderson, NV, represent the scope of the 12-member committee

“It’s an important group for the province,” said Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, chairman of the group and a two-term member. “Everyone in the province knows that someone at this table is representing them.”

Agenda items included planning for the next Provincial Assembly, as well as sharing events in the various regions and promoting community life.

Associates David Surprenant of Bourbonnais and Juliann Dwyer of Henderson, NV, catch up before the meeting

They also reviewed a new resource book published this fall, that came out of the last VCC meeting. The 250-page book, compiled by Fr. Lydon, contains everything from formation materials and the congregation’s charter, to components of its charism, history and founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, as well as scripture and prayer resources.

Associate David Surprenant attended just his second meeting of the VCC, leaving behind his dairy farm in Manteno, IL, but he wouldn’t miss it, he said.

“It’s great that they value our input,” Surprenant said, “and that we can have a say in events that affect the community.”