Where else but the Viatorian Youth Congress would you find young people interviewing a Viatorian priest from Haiti? Sure enough, on day two of VYC, as delegates and young adult leaders spread out to interview Viatorian associates and professed at the Province Center, one group was assigned to interview Fr. Dudley Pierre, CSV.

Students interview Fr. Dudley Pierre in the Province Center dining room.

He is the former Superior of the Foundation of Haiti, who is spending the year living with Viatorians above Saint Viator High School as he improves his English speaking skills. Delegates learned that he is trilingual. This native French speaker also spent time in Chile learning to become fluent in Spanish.

When asked by the students what he likes most about being a Viatorian, he said: “I appreciate the charism, the work we are doing in education, with the poor and especially with young people. They grow close to us. We are witnesses to their growth. Some of them tell us they would be lost without us.”

This year’s Youth Congress is the 14th annual and numbers of young people involved — both as delegates and young adult leaders — appear to be near pre-pandemic form. VYC takes place through June 6 at Casa Iskali in Des Plaines, IL, site of last year’s Congress.

In all, 43 delegates and 15 young adult leaders have come together. Delegations are from St. Viator Parish and Cristo Rey St. Viator, both in Las Vegas; from Saint Viator High School, St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, and Cristo Rey St. Martin in Waukegan, IL.

Students introduce Fr. Dan Hall to the delegates.

“This is our largest group since before Covid,” says Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, Director of Vocation Ministry. “It looks like the VYC Program has rebounded.”

Br. Lamick and Pre-Associate Dan Masterton have worked together to enhance some of the components of the Congress, particularly in the small group discussions and talks. Along the way, they have drawn more Viatorians to participate — including associates, brothers and priests — and engage with these young people coming from Viatorian institutions.

In addition, Dan Masterton created a keepsake resource booklet for delegates and short videos to introduce and reinforce the formative takeaways. Ultimately, both he and Br. Peter want to make an explicit invitation to join the Viatorian as associates, brothers or priests and help advance the mission.

Young adult leaders participate in a prayer service before delegates arrive.

In fact, at the end of each interview, Viatorians were asked by students, “How can young people better discern?”

Along with praying and being open to new opportunities, Associate Barbara D’Urso said: “I think young people should think more about who they want to be, and not what they want to be.”