Members of the Viatorian Community Council took their seats today for their last time

Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, has chaired the Viatorian Community Council the last three years. Sitting beside him are Associate Marilyn Mulcahy, left, and Associates Connie Gerber and Juliann Dwyer

together this term. Elected from their respective regions, their three-year term is up and members took the opportunity to reflect on their roles, while still get down to the business of making plans for this summer’s provincial assembly.

“I think it’s a wonderful  idea to have professed and lay associates collaborating,” said Associate Connie Gerber of Las Vegas, a charter member and at the end of her second term. “I’ve loved having the chance to see it grow and evolve.”

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) Associate Donna Schwarz, Fr. Mark Francis, Br. John Eustice, Fr. Dan Lydon and Associate Randy Baker

“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.”

This unique model of participation 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.

Yet, many of its current members, who formerly worked in Viatorian schools and parishes, do not see its collaborative mission as being that different.

“I spent years at Saint Viator High School, and Connie was at Bishop Gorman,” Fr. Render said. “We’re both accustomed to Viatorians partnering with lay teachers and administrators on staff. It’s perfectly natural and just makes sense.”

Going forward, he added, he hopes the new council will look for more meaningful ways to bring people together within their regions, to share in the Viatorian charism.