For starters, Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian, a Viatorian associate, brought a delegation of seven current students and another six alumni served as leaders. Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, were among the adults involved, while Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, said daily Masses, and he and Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, Provincial, made presentations to the group.
In all, 70 teen delegates and college-aged leaders convened at the Cabrini Retreat Center in Des Plaines. They represented parishes and schools in Arlington Heights, Bourbonnais, Chicago, Kankakee, Las Vegas and Bogotá, Colombia.
Jason Wilhite ’15, served as one of two coordinators, helping to guide leaders and delegates through the prayer sessions, group discussions and other activities that make up the four-day congress.
He attended the youth congress in 2013 and 2014, and he returned last year to address delegates about social justice. He credits his faith-based activism, in part, to his experiences at VYC. Next month, he returns to Saint Viator to serve as a campus minister.
“We hope to challenge delegates,” Jason said at the outset, “to be more engaged in their faith — and to work for a better world.”
The Viatorian Youth Congress originally was conceived to bring together teens from different schools and parishes run by Viatorians, as a way to advance the Viatorian charism.
Now in its 10th year, organizers see the benefits of its faith and leadership development. Its daily activities include keynote presentations, prayer workshops, opportunities to assist in leading liturgy, and small and large group discussions. There’s also a talent show, a Taizé prayer service and confessions.
A highlight takes place on the second day when delegates and their leaders visit the Viatorian Province Center. They break up into groups of three to interview and then present to the crowd a Viatorian associate, brother or priest.
“The VYC helps our young faith leaders realize that they are part of a worldwide family,” Fr. Corey says, “that is changing the world.”