Viatorians around the world pause every Sept. 1 to remember their founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, who founded the congregation in 1831 in Vourles, France, where he served as pastor of a small church.

Fr. Simon Lefebvre celebrates Mass on Querbes Day at the Viatorian Province Center

He passed away Sept. 1, 1859 at the age of 66.  He is buried in the cemetery at Vourles, where his gravestone describes him as a “priest of great zeal, selfless and admirable charity.”

At the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, the oldest member of the Chicago Province, 90-year old Fr. Simon Lefebvre, CSV, celebrated Mass for his retired confreres and Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Fr. Louis Querbes

“Today is a significant day for Viatorians,” Fr. Lefebvre said at the outset. “It is the day when our founder, Fr. Louis Querbes, was born to eternal life.

“It’s amazing,” he continued. “He was only 66 and look at all he accomplished.”

Later, Fr. Lefebvre led his confreres in praying for the beatification of Fr. Querbes. His cause has been taken up by Vatican officials, who have called him a Servant of God as his cause advances toward being named venerable.

Fr. Mick Egan, left, and Fr. Pedro Herrera, right, help dedicate Fr. Louis Querbes Park at Colegio San Viator Tunja

Observances will take place in parishes and schools throughout the Viatorian Province of  Chicago, as well as in international locations around the world. In many places, Viatorian associates, brothers and priests will visit cemeteries where Viatorians who have gone before them, are buried.

Yet, the observances are seen as celebrations, since even 158 years later the vision and legacy of Fr. Querbes continues. Most recently, a park at the Viatorians’ newest school in Tunja, Colombia was named after him, while a new youth ministry center at St. George Parish in Bourbonnais, will be dedicated next weekend.