Every year, sophomores at Saint Viator High School attend a Vocations Fair. Think college fair, only with different men’s and women’s religious communities featured at their own booths, ready with posters, brochures and members eager to share their individual charism.
It was organized as a scavenger hunt of sorts, with students getting to know different religious communities through conversations. One of the questions sophomores asked each community was to sum up their charism in a sentence. For the Viatorians, Br. John Eustice answered: “It all comes back to accompanying young people.”
Mr. Patrick McGarry, chair of the theology department, loves the concept of young people getting to know religious, whether they are sisters, brothers or priests.
“Students gain a wider perspective of the vocational paths available to them,” says Mr. McGarry says, “and help them to discern if God is calling them to communal or religious life.
“The students also get to put human faces and personalities to those who have chosen this path,” he adds, “allowing students and religious to talk together, laugh together, and share time and space for a bit.”
The Viatorian Vocation Ministry team — including Br. John Eustice, Pre-Associate Dan Masterton and Br. Peter Lamick — collaborated with the Saint Viator’s theology department to put on the annual vocations fair, including chairperson Mr. McGarry and Assistant to the President for Mission, Associate Ann Perez.
Vocation Ministry worked with the Chicago Archdiocesan Vocations Association (CAVA) to invite vocation directors to attend. Guests join the school community for Mass and have lunch together at the school.
Guests this year included:
- Sr. Maria Brizuela, OSF, Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart
- Mr. Len Uhal, Divine Word Missionaries
- Mr. Arturo Gonzalez, Claretian Missionaries
- Sr. Mayra Lopez, MSCS, Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo
- Mr. Greg Darr, Maryknoll Missioners
- Sr. Denise Glazik, OP, Dominican Sisters of Springfield
“For most students, it’s a chance to learn more about religious life in the Church and get more familiar with a few expressions of it,” Masterton says. “For some young people, it is a moment of vocational exploration where they can investigate their own vocations, too.”