Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, learned earlier this month that they would be receiving a community award from the Village of Arlington Heights. They were among 11 local residents chosen to receive one of the annual Hearts of Gold Awards, given to individuals who “go above and beyond for the community.” The awards ceremony takes place Feb. 25.

Young asylum seekers at Viator House of Hospitality celebrate the home’s 5th anniversary last year.

Categories range from best neighbor, educator and mentor, to volunteer, community spirit and business leader, to name a few. However, Fr. Corey and Br. Michael were chosen to receive the Heroic Heart of Gold award, which “recognizes a person whose actions changed the trajectory of another person’s life.”

In their case, their actions have changed more than 100 lives, or 107 young men from 26 nations at last count.

Fr. Corey and Br. Michael started Viator House of Hospitality in 2017 with a mission of providing compassionate accompaniment for young immigrant men, seeking asylum.

The majority of their participants entered this country as unaccompanied minors. Consequently, without a legal parent or guardian in the U.S., these young men would have been bound for temporary shelters or prison-style detention centers, after aging out of federally funded child-care facilities. Br. Michael and Fr. Corey saw a great need for a bridge program that offered housing, social services, legal assistance, employment preparation, mental health services, and more.

“These men are by and large thriving,” Fr. Brost said when describing their work at a local parish, “because they live in a home that is filled with hope, healing and opportunity.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, center, talks with Fr. Corey Brost, left, and Sr. Kathlyn Mulcahy, Executive Director of Bethany House of Hospitality, during a tour in March.

This is not the first time their work has been recognized. Fr. Corey and Br. Michael have explained their mission in countless Zoom presentations, radio broadcasts and even received a shout-out in a “member feature” of a publication circulated among the wider religious community, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. Their mission of accompaniment also led to the founding of a similar style home, for young immigrant women, called Bethany House of Hospitality, on Chicago’s South side.

But this Hearts of Gold Award stands apart, for it recognizes the lifechanging work of Fr. Corey and Br. Michael, right in their own community.