Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: December 2017

Food for the Journey: Sunday, December 31

This week Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Luke 2: 22-40

When a first child is born to a woman and a man, they are automatically given the title of mother and father. The child’s simple arrival brings the authority to change how the world views this woman and man. Without doing anything other than arriving, Jesus did the same…and more. This arrival to working class parents, in a little known village, in a tiny outpost of the Roman Empire changed the world: No words were spoken, yet the word of God was understood clearly by some who were brought up in the first century Jewish tradition.

As a family, Mary and Joseph brought their child to the temple to be presented to God. Because they practiced the religious custom, and were people of deep prayer, Simeon was able to recognize the Messiah. He saw in their eight-day-old son the light for all the world and they were amazed at the words of the old priest. So, what did they do? They returned home as any family would do and continued to raise him to be a strong man.

The Holy Family is a model for all families. They believed their child was entrusted to them by God. They raised him faithfully in their religious tradition. Even though they learned he was destined for great things, the lived a simple, devout life. All families are called to do the same. The child has changed the parents’ status in the world without using words. What would happen if every family were to bring their children to Mass every week and hear how the world will be transformed through the youngsters? This message IS there every week. Like Simeon, there are people in the church, needing reassurance that Christ is alive and well through the families who gather for Eucharist. Just as the baby changes the essence of the family without using words, the family’s non-verbal actions of going to weekly Mass supports and strengthens the world.

Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. served as Campus Minister at Saint Viator High School and is currently working in Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Maternity, B.V.M. Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Food for the Journey: Monday, December 25

This week Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for Christmas.

Isaiah 52: 7-10
Ps 98
Hebrews 1: 1-6
John 1: 1-18

While the readings at Midnight Mass and Christmas Mass at Dawn celebrate the marvelous mystery of God entering the world in simplicity and poverty and that God even entered this broken world at all, the Christmas liturgy during the day celebrates the meaning of the event.

The meaning of the Incarnation could be the subject of reflections like these and sermons for a year…or longer! I will limit myself to reflect briefly on two ideas.

First, we celebrate today the mystery that God’s love is so magnificent and so abundant that God “decided” from all of eternity that no matter how broken creation would become…..there would be no other option than to reach out to restore creation to its original blessing. That’s God’s job description: restore, recreate, reinvigorate, and repair. The fine print of the job description speaks of how God will “announce peace” and “comfort his people” and how God will “bare his holy arm” to give us divine strength to rebuild our lives just as the Jewish people had to rebuild their lives after the Holy City of Jerusalem had been destroyed.

Today’s gospel literally says that the Eternal Word “pitched his tent” among us (1: 14) and in our broken world. In today’s Collect we pray:

“O God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it. Grant that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

That is the same prayer the priest prays as he adds a small drop of water into the chalice at the Preparation of the Gifts. Like a drop of life-giving water, Christ permeates and makes holy our lives. And we who are baptized into Christ are to drop our lives restored in Christ into the life of the world. We are to “pitch our tents” into the world and to revitalize it with Christ. That is OUR job description!

And we celebrate that today!

Saint Viator Students Turn Out to Help Feed Hungry Children

FMSCHFHSaint Viator students have returned many times to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children locations, but last weekend, they joined with thousands of other volunteers for a “Hope-Filled Holiday.”

For the second straight year, Saint Viator students—led in groups by Mr. Kurt Paprocki and Mr. Bart Hisgen—reported to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center over the weekend, where they ultimately packed 1 million meals—enough to feed 2,740 children for a year.

“There was so much energy and so many people,” said Laura Kuper ’18. “The Christmas spirit was just flying.”

Her classmate, Sarah Johnson ’18, agreed that the numbers of volunteers who gave up part of their weekend to feed hungry children was inspiring.

“I didn’t expect to see so many people wanting to help people,” Sarah said. “It was fun and there was lots of cheering.”

They were part of a massive meal-packing session that took place over three days at the Schaumburg Convention Center and drew 7,500 volunteers in all.

“It was great to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” added Emma Abrahamian ’19.

Each meal packet was packed with nutritious meals of soy, vegetables, vitamins, and rice. They were loaded into boxes and will be shipped to mission partners in 70 countries around the world, where they will feed children in orphanages, schools, clinics and in feeding programs designed to break the cycle of poverty

Saint Viator students included members of the National Honor Society as well as those active in Campus Ministry and other service organizations, and even feeder basketball teams. They combined with volunteers from other church groups, schools and businesses, including Capital One, United Airlines, Anixter, Fellowes Brands, Verizon, Northwestern Mutual, Amita Health, Omron, Edlong and Hayward Baker.

Even Saint Viator faculty members and administrators pitched in to help, including Mrs. Karen Love, principal, and her husband, Dan; Dean of Students, Bill Sanford, and his wife, Dr. Gretchen Sanford; Mrs. Brigette Brankin, math teacher, and Viatorian Associates Cathy and Don Abrahamian.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, December 17

This week Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent.

Isaiah 61: 1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1: 46-48, 49-50, 53-54
Thess 5: 16-24
Jn 1: 6-8, 19-28

Just as we begin scurrying to get all the decorations up, cards written, and gifts bought, the liturgy holds fast to the “reason for the season.” This week’s Word is about our mission to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Our mission is to bear witness to the coming of the Light. We are reminded that the darkest forces in our nation and in our world are not as powerful as they seem.

A pink candle is lit this week. That candle reminds us of another aspect of our mission as disciples of the Christ – to spread JOY. The “Responsorial Psalm” is replaced this Gautete Sunday with Mary’s Canticle: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit REJOICES in God my savior.” (Lk 1: 46)

What activity could we cut out of our lives in these next few weeks to ease the stress of the season so as to spread more JOY?

Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. has served as teacher and administrator at Saint Viator High School for 16 years. Fr. Lydon currently teaches Religion and, with Mrs. Rita King, coordinates Adult and Family Faith Formation at Saint Viator.

Spanish Classes Celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

unnamedOn Tuesday, Spanish classes went right to the source when learning about the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: they attended a feast day Mass.

Students spent their class periods rotating in and out of the Alumni Memorial Chapel, where three Viatorian priests took turns saying Mass, in Spanish, naturally.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV; Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV; and Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, all celebrated Mass for the Spanish students and during their homilies explained more about her apparition to Juan Diego in 1531 and the powerful symbol she has become as patroness of the Americas.

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“It seemed like it would be a natural,” said Fr. Bolser, chaplain. “Anytime we can broaden the cultural experience, outside of the classroom, it’s a good thing.”

All three Viatorians have experienced the devotion of feast day, firsthand. Fr. Hall helped establish a Viatorian mission in Belize and he ultimately spent five years there, where Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in the city of Belmopan draws thousands to its novena and feast day Masses.

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Before coming to Saint Viator, Fr. Bolser served as pastor of St. Viator Parish in Chicago, where its devout Hispanic parishioners would start with prayers early in the morning on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, before attending Mass and celebrating with a fiesta. Fr. Lydon also served at the parish, as a religious brother and deacon before he was ordained there in 2015.

“These Masses were well received,” Fr. Bolser added. “We’d like have them three to four times a year, when appropriate.”

Sharing the Christmas Season with Adults from St. Coletta’s

image002A connection made by Saint Viator students with adults from St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin who live in group homes in the Northwest suburbs continues to grow.

It was a little more than six months ago that members of the girls’ soccer team made a financial donation to St. Coletta’s Center, located in Palatine, before attending a Mass with local residents and their families, that was celebrated by Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV.

All of these adults served by St. Coletta are in their 40s and 50s and have developmental disabilities.

St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin was founded in 1904, and it continues to be inspired by the Franciscan mission of compassion, dignity, and respect, in serving adults with developmental disabilities.

image001Its main residential facility is located in Jefferson, WI, but St. Coletta now serves adults in the Northwest suburbs, who live in 10 homes in the area and attend programs at a resource center in Rolling Meadows.

Now, Saint Viator students are taking a more active role with St. Coletta residents, by including them in several activities.

One of the latest took place Friday after school when Saint Viator students gathered with approximately one dozen St. Coletta residents to go Christmas caroling in the surrounding neighborhood.

IMG_0142Accompanied by Dean Deborah Scerbicke and Fr. Bolser, the carolers broke up into smaller groups and set out into the local community.

On Tuesday night, Saint Viator’s strength and conditioning coach, Mr. Richard McLoughlin, led student-athletes to Kirk School in Palatine for the annual St. Coletta holiday party.

“They were a very distinguished looking group of carolers,” Fr. Bolser said of the football players, wrestlers, and powerlifters who attended. “There was a lot of food and a lot of singing. Everyone had a great time.”

image003While Saint Viator students look for more ways to include these St. Coletta residents, Fr. Bolser quietly continues his devotion to these adults with disabilities, saying Mass one night a week at their Rolling Meadows center.

Faculty Members Share Apps that Work at Tech Showcase

IMG_9323On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, students in accelerated Spanish classes felt as if they traveled from the site of the apparition, at Tepeyac Hill, to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Using Google Maps, they went right to street level and traced the exact directions for their fellow classmates.

Mr. Kurt Paprocki described the enhanced features of Google Maps to his colleagues, encouraging them to extend learning beyond Saint Viator and down to the street level—and even inside certain locations—expanding the classroom walls.

The presentation was just one of the segments in a Tech Showcase on Tuesday that featured all sorts of programs and applications that teachers are using to enhance learning.

IMG_9331“It’s good for teachers to share best practices,” said Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator. “So often, our teachers talk only to their colleagues in their own department. This was a great way to hear what other teachers are using, that works.”

Mr. Cory Jensen shared how Social Studies students are using Esri Story Maps to create works of historical fiction that draw from the program’s collection of maps and geography to tell their story visually. One of his assignments was for students to tell a migration story.

“It allows the student to visualize their journey,” Mr. Jensen said, “in a more dynamic way than say, PowerPoint, which just uses photos and text. These stories can include maps, graphs and video as well as text and photos. As long as it includes locations, you can tell a story.”

Science department teachers shared how to use Google Forms for completing and grading homework assignments as well as ACT prep questions, while English teachers demonstrated how to use TurnItIn to give formative feedback on students’ essays and check for originality.

“I could see using that in my Leaders’ Prep course,” commented Mr. Dan Edminster, physical education teacher.

IMG_9326Speaking of P.E., health instructor, Ms. Lisa Wilson, demonstrated how to use the Fooducate app to read and evaluate food labels, while math teacher, Mrs. Julie Reedy, described how advanced math students are making iMovies to present topics to their classmates. They range from Pascal’s triangle, to graphing transformations and synthetic division.

“The kids are always amazed at how well they have to know what they’re doing in order to make one of these movies,” Mrs. Reedy says. “I think of them as creating tutorials.”

IMG_9316A stop in the art studio proved fascinating as faculty members watched objects being created by the 3-D printers in the art department. Right before their very eyes they watched a three-dimensional red lion come to life.

However, gone are the days when it took 24 hours for a 3-D printer to produce. The department’s two new printers are much faster, says Mr. Bill Faltinoski, fine arts department chairman.

“We can make a red lion in under an hour,” he said.

Two more stops during the showcase featured a demonstration in the religion department of EDPuzzle, the innovative video app, which allows teachers to take any video and adapt it at different stop points with notes and questions for students to answer. Teachers also were intrigued with a brief video on entrepreneurship in the business department.

The Tech Showcase was part of the weekly professional development sessions for faculty members, but Ms. Miskowicz suspects it won’t be the last.

“There are just so many apps to share,” she says. “But for our first time, it was a success.”

Coach Mike Manno Named Class 3A Baseball Coach of the Year

BaseballThe hits just keep on coming for Saint Viator High School’s Class 3A state champion baseball team. A little more than five months after winning the title, Head Coach Mike Manno now has learned that he has been named Class 3A Coach of the Year by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches’ Association.

He will be presented with the award in January at the Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony, which takes place at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center Hotel.

“This award recognizes those coaches who have led their respective teams to an exceptional season of play,” said Brian Wujcik, vice president of the IHSBCA.

This is the second award for Manno in as many years. One year ago, he was named Coach of the Year for the Northern District of Illinois, after coaching the Lions to a fourth-place finish in Class 3A.

“I am truly honored,” Manno said. “But I’ve always said you don’t get awards like this without great kids who believe in what we’re doing, and a great staff who is as passionate about baseball as I am.”

Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 11 seasons, leading them to 25 wins each of the last two years. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who played soccer and baseball at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin before he returned to his alma mater to begin coaching in 1998-99 as an assistant in soccer, basketball, and baseball.

“Actually, I date my first year of coaching back to 1996, when Coach (Bill) Pirman asked me to coach the summer varsity team,” Manno says. “It was before my junior year of college, but I began to think then that I would like to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Manno points to those intangibles that helped fuel this year’s state-winning baseball team.

“There was such a sense of camaraderie on the team and of caring for each other,” Manno says. “Sure, winning was important, but we stressed from day one that we wanted our kids to be an extension of their home and their parents and of their school.

“Through that process,” he added, “of doing the right thing, it allowed us to be successful.”

Beyond Pirman, Manno pointed to such role models as Joe Majkowski, who coached varsity basketball for 35 years at Saint Viator, and Mike Taylor, who continues to coach soccer after more than 35 years.

“They taught me a lot of great things,” Manno says, “and I’m striving to live up to their expectations.”

Environmental Science Students Dive Deep into the Shedd Aquarium

Students in Mrs. Vicky Giusti’s Environmental Science class took their research on aquatic biomes, right to the source: The Shedd Aquarium, home to 32,000 creatures from aquatic habitats around the world. During a recent field trip, they were able to walk through a flooded forest in Amazon Rising and watch sharks swimming overhead in Wild Reef.

Literally, they came face-to-face with zebra, sandbar, wobbegong and blacktip reef sharks while enjoying the beauty of corals, before exploring the most diverse rainforest in the world.

But they were doing more than sightseeing.

With iPads in hand, students completed lab worksheets that focused on marine and freshwater biomes.

“This was a perfect opportunity for students to experience the Coral Reef, the Wild Reefs, and the Amazons exhibits,” Mrs. Giusti said.

At each exhibit, students had to answer specific questions as they observed the creatures in their native surroundings. They ranged from identifying animals that used camouflage to survive in the reef, to observing the different adaptations of the “jellies,” to discovering how plant life contributes to life in the Amazon. They also worked to identify some of the major environmental factors in marine biomes.

In addition to collecting data, students also captured photos of marine and plant life in their native biomes to add to their PowerPoint presentations, which they will begin sharing on Wednesday in order to teach their classmates about their assigned biome.

Look for these Environmental Students to be veritable experts on their biomes this week, including being able to identify their worldwide locations, precipitation and temperatures, as well as characteristics and adaptations that allow animals in these biomes to survive.

Food for the Journey: Sunday December 3

This week Fr. Charlie Bolser, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent.

Advent is a time of anticipation – of waiting anxiously. We see this sign on the faces of children, small and large—are we there yet? We get caught up in these stressful moments of life when we run as fast as we can and filled with impatience reach the finish line exhausted and unsure of just what we gained. I am reminded of a story written many years ago by Robert J. Hastings.

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out our windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour, we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering-waiting-waiting for the station.

Advent is a time of anticipation – of waiting anxiously. We see this sign on the faces of children, small and large—are we there yet? We get caught up in these stressful moments of life when we run as fast as we can and filled with impatience reach the finish line exhausted and unsure of just what we gained. I am reminded of a story written many years ago by Robert J. Hastings.

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out our windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour, we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering-waiting-waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I get a promotion!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!” Sooner or later, we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive people mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fears of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twins who rob us of today.

“So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.”

The Good News of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit of God’s love is alive and well within all of creation, coming to be. That spirit is therefore alive and well within you and me. We need to take the time to open our eyes and to understand that indeed we are already there – we just don’t understand it yet. We need to take the time to relax and look around – God has come alive in the world and lives in us – within all that is and has been and is yet to be. Advent is an opportunity to take the time to look carefully around and within as see God come alive; to hear God speaking to us in the voices of love everywhere. Listen to the Silent Night when the whispering voice of God comes alive in your heart.

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