Let the Viatorian Youth Congress begin!

Leaders of the 2017 Viatorian Youth Congress

Some 45 delegates — representing all the places where Viatorians minister — converged today on the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL for a four-day event that is part retreat, part youth rally and part leadership conference.

Associate Karen Cutler returns as the VYC director, but in reality college-age young people run the week. They start with Annie Nagle, a graduate of Saint Viator High School and senior at St. Norbert College, and Patrick Aller, a parishioner at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas and student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, who are serving as the young adult coordinators of this year’s congress.

Leaders piece together a quilt featuring squares with the Viatorian logo, where delegates will write prayers

They are heading up a group of 12 leaders in all, who represent every region in the Chicago Province, including Arlington Heights/Chicago, Bourbonnais/Kankakee/and Henderson/Las Vegas in Nevada.

Throughout the congress, teens will discuss ways to deepen their Catholic faith and learn how they can advance the Viatorian mission.

In preparation for the opening session, leaders helped to transform the retreat house into a Viatorian-inspired space, with images of Fr. Louis Querbes, founder of the Viatorians, and the patron saint of the community, St. Viator; as well as a timeline of major events during its history over the last 150 years.

Leaders help to hang the Viatorian timeline

During the sessions, teens will come face to face with nearly two dozen Viatorian associates, brothers and priests who will be involved. Their roles range from presenters of prayer workshops and social justice initiatives, to interview subjects, delegation leaders and pastoral ministers.

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, processes into Mass.

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, returns for his eighth consecutive year. He founded the congress back when he served as vocations director for the Viatorian Community. Initially, he designed it as a way to bring together teens from various Viatorian sites, but increasingly he has seen its impact on young people who take what they learn back to their home schools and parishes.

“The VYC helps our young faith leaders realize that they are part of a worldwide family,” Fr. Brost says, “that is changing the world.”