The Viatorian Community has always maintained a program for pre-novices as they discern a call to religious life. But the good news is that this year, Viatorians revised the program to offer more structure as young men continue to stay in contact with the Vocation Ministry Office.

Ryan McMahon, left, with Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, who will serve as his mentor during his pre-novitiate year.

“We want to give young men a sense of who we are and what we do,” says Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, Pre-Novitiate Director. “We want to give them a good experience of religious life — through living it and experiencing it for one year.”

The newly revised program came into light this month, when the Viatorians welcomed Ryan McMahon as a pre-novice. Ryan is a 2016 graduate of Saint Viator High School and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan. He has remained in touch with the Viatorians since high school, attending the Viatorian Youth Congress and participating on the Young Adult Advisory Board, among some of his experiences.

“Overall, I am feeling very excited, hopeful and optimistic about this coming year,” Ryan says. “The Viatorians always had a special place in my mind and heart due to the fantastic academic and spiritual education I received at Saint Viator High School.”

Ryan, second from left, participated in a young adult think tank session in December.

Over the course of the next year, he will spend time at Viatorian schools and parishes in Arlington Heights, Bourbonnais, Chicago, Kankakee and Las Vegas. The program hopes to offer him multiple opportunities to learn about what Viatorians do, as well as deepen his own personal and spiritual growth.

Last week, Ryan was formally welcomed into the Viatorian Community at a small prayer service at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, where he will live in community with other Viatorians for the next year.

Ryan, left, will live with other Viatorians at St. Viator Parish in Chicago for the next year.

“Right after my welcoming, I knew that I had made the right decision to go into the  pre-novitiate,” he said, “because I immediately felt a renewed sense of peace with my decision.”

Fr. Lydon led the prayer service, which also included Fr. Corey Brost, Br. John Eustice, Br. Michael Gosch, Fr. Moses Mesh and Fr. Patrick Render.

“Our Pre-Novitiate experience is deliberately flexible in order to provide for the needs of men who come to us at varying ages and with varying educational backgrounds,” Fr. Lydon says. “The overall goal is to provide candidates with a valid experience of religious life.”

If all goes well, Ryan could enter the novitiate, which is typically a one-year program leading up to professing first vows.

As for revising the pre-novitiate program, Fr. Lydon says this: “It shows we’re open for business — and we invite young men to consider joining us in religious life.”