At 93 years old, Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, is the oldest Viatorian in the Chicago Province, and yet he never tires of being around — and teaching — young people.
“I love it,” he says. “Anytime you can work with young people, it’s a good thing. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning.”
He was one of multiple Viatorians interviewed on Day 2 of the Viatorian Youth Congress. The exchange allowed him to describe his roots with the Viatorian Community, which date back more than 75 years, and share his history and vocation with young people.
The interviews are one of the mainstays of the congress — going back to the very first one in 2010 — as delegates spend time with Viatorians, including associates and professed. Working from a script of questions, young people ask how they met the Viatorians, what convinced them to join the community, where they have served and perhaps their reflection on an important contribution.
After spending time in these interviews, the whole group convenes and each team of young people introduce their Viatorian to the crowd. It’s a unique element of the congress that delegates remember long after the last day.
At the same time, Viatorians, like Fr. Perham, enjoy being interviewed by interested young people. It gives them a chance to make a connection, share a little bit about their vocation and advance the Viatorian charism to a new generation.
“The experience of attending VYC encourages young people to listen and respond to God’s ongoing inviations to live the Gospel in their lives,” says Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, Director of Vocation Ministry.
Year after year, alumni of the congress describe the friendships they make during four days, as well as relationships with Viatorians, as being the best part of the experience.