The farmland around the Bourbonnais/Kankakee region holds a special place in the Viatorian

Fr. Dan Belanger takes a seat in the mighty combine

Community, since it was there that the first Viatorians arrived back in 1865. While those early Viatorians would go on to teach at a local school and parish, farm families have held a special place among Viatorians for more than 150 years now.

That devotion was evident on Sunday, when Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor of St. George Catholic Church in Bourbonnais was asked to bless a combine before the start of the harvest season.

The combine is ready to hit the fields, just after dawn

Fr. Dan Belanger blesses its driver, Darren Stauffenberg

Literally, parishioners Darren Stauffenberg and Kim and Walter Shirley pulled up the giant farm machine just after dawn and before the 8 a.m. Mass. That’s where Fr. Dan, dressed in his vestments, blessed their combine and its operators before they headed out to harvest their crops.

Fr. Dan has served as pastor of St. George since 2009 and in 2014, he added the pastorship at St. Mary’s Church in nearby Beaverville, where its church is affectionately referred to as the “Cathedral in the Cornfields.”

Fr. Dan is chronicling such experiences during this year’s harvest. But his ministry also falls during this Season of Creation — from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 — when its theme is “walking together” in the care of our common home.