Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Category: Faith Formation (Page 2 of 7)

Service & Song Returns for 6th Annual Summer

Service & Song 2017

Service & Song 2017

A tradition of immersing incoming students into Saint Viator’s commitment to service continues next week at the sixth annual Service & Song Camp.

More than 150 students will turn out for the five-day camp, its largest group ever. They include junior high students and incoming freshmen as well as current Saint Viator students and young alumni serving as leaders.

Service & Song 2016

Service & Song 2016

When the camp begins next week, the students will be divided up into 10 teams, grouping junior high and incoming students with teen leaders from Saint Viator. Each afternoon starts out with a reflection on their service and people they impact, as well as a song led by the student musicians and choral members.

Some of the destinations group have previously volunteered at include Community Threads, Sisters of the Living Word, Wheeling Township Food Pantry and the Viatorian Community Garden.

Viatorian Bishop Returns to Celebrate Mass

IMG_9708When the Viatorians’ only active bishop, the Most Rev. Christopher Glancy, CSV, celebrated the last all-school Mass on April 18, it was a homecoming of sorts for him.

He began his Viatorian ministry and teaching career at Saint Viator, exactly 35 years ago, when he taught religion and social studies during the 1983-84 academic year.

Bishop Glancy was joined by Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, and Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, who concelebrated the Mass with him.

The Mass was offered as part of the Easter season, and it was in that spirit of new birth and new beginnings that Bishop Glancy offered his homily to the students and faculty.

IMG_9695He encouraged them to continue learning about their faith, attend Mass, to be of service to others, now and for the rest of their lives.

“I drew on the message that I usually give during confirmations,” Bishop Glancy said, “but I think it applies to high school students and to all of us.”

Bishop Glancy is a native of Rock Island, Illinois, and he first met the Viatorians when he attended Alleman High School in Rock Island, where Viatorians made up much of the faculty. He went on to attend Loyola University, but within a year of graduating, he would enter the Viatorian Community.

Over his years in ministry, Bishop Glancy has taught at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia and he helped to open the Viatorian mission in Belize in 1998 with Fr. Dan Hall, CSV. His leadership was so strong in Belize, he was ordained bishop of Belize City in 2012. Bishop Glancy returned to this country in 2017 for a sabbatical.

At Saint Viator, he described the student body as being extremely attentive and he added how surprised—and inspired—to see so many students involved in the liturgy, as Eucharistic ministers, cantors, choral and musician members, and even as greeters and those who prepared the altar.

IMG_9704“They all had so much reverence,” Bishop Glancy said. “It was just refreshing to see.”

Mr. Brian Liedlich, president of Saint Viator, added how much it meant to have a Viatorian bishop, and former member of the faculty, come back to celebrate Mass.

“It was such a privilege and pleasure to welcome Bishop Glancy back to Saint Viator to celebrate our Easter liturgy,” Mr. Liedlich said. “We continue to do everything we can to heighten our Viatorian mission and identity at the school.”

Faculty and Students Work Together to Feed the Hungry

IMG_2625A pledge made three years ago by faculty members to work together to provide food for the homeless, continues. But at their latest service project, they joined with students to feed the hungry.

Faculty and students worked side by side at Bessie’s Table in Des Plaines. Housed within the First United Methodist Church of Des Plaines, the 15-year ministry serves a hot dinner, free of charge, to more than 100 people every Monday night.

Church members regularly recruit volunteers to help them. While local businesses donate food and produce every week, the ministry depends on volunteers to help with set-up, serving, and clean-up.

That’s where the Saint Viator students and teachers come in. They were the latest group to pitch in and help.

IMG_2623Faculty members included Dean Deb Scerbicke, Mrs. Mary Lanus, Mrs. Nancy Devroy, Mrs. Rita King and Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV.

Campus Ministry coordinated the service trip for students needing hours serving the marginalized, but they also opened it up to adults.

Increasingly, faculty members are taking part in volunteer service projects, organized by Mrs. King and Fr. Lydon, coordinators of adult faith formation. The year-long program aims to foster personal and spiritual growth through regular service and prayer opportunities.

Typically, faculty members gather once a month in Querbes Hall to put together sack lunches for the homeless served by Catholic Charities in Des Plaines and Journey from PADS to Hope in Palatine.

“Working alongside our students was a great opportunity,” Mrs. King said.

Fr. Lydon enjoyed the experience so much, he plans to return with students in his freshman religion classes, and they may bring faculty members back as part of their Adult Faith Formation program.

After all, the service fulfills part of the Viatorian mission, which is to fight hunger and reach out to “those accounted of little importance.”

Students and Trustees Have a Ball with Clearbrook Bowling

TrusteesDayServiceFor the first time, Saint Viator students combined with members of the board of trustees in a service project, that embodied one of the Viatorians’ core missions: embracing those accounted of little importance.

It took place Saturday when the group turned out to Elk Grove Bowl to help adults served by Clearbrook enjoy an afternoon of bowling, as part of the organization’s Bowling Buddies program.

“It was like a party,” said Julia Vadan ’19, one of nearly one dozen students who participated from Saint Viator’s Justice League and Campus Ministry. “Everyone was cheering and having fun. I was so happy to be a part of it.”

LionsForJusticeJulia helped to get the ball rolling, so to speak, when she designed T-shirts for Clearbrook bowlers, which had been underwritten by Saint Viator’s board of trustees. Each one featured Clearbrook’s Bowling Buddies logo on the front, but with this inscription on the back: “That’s How Saint Viator BOWLS.”

Saint Viator volunteers made an impact, Clearbrook officials said. In all, there were nearly 200 bowlers needing assistance, including the more severely disabled bowlers, who needed help to bowl with the aid of raised, accessible ramps. When Saint Viator volunteers weren’t helping their assigned bowlers, they cheered on the others who bowled on their own.

“Yesterday was one of the greatest days ever for the Clearbrook client bowling league, thanks to our buddies from Saint Viator High School,” declared Clearbrook officials on their Facebook page. “(They are our) friends and neighbors.”

TrusteesService2Trustee and administration members had as much fun as the students, said Mrs. Mary Beth Beiersdorf, in her last year on the board.

“It was so cool seeing how much love was in the room, and seeing our trustees and students working together,” she said. “Literally, it was one of the best days ever. We’re hoping to make it an annual event.”

Saturday’s bowling outing was a part of Campus Ministry’s Loaves & Fishes program, says Ms. Emily Egan, Campus Minister.

“Students pick an organization once a month to pray for at our all-school Masses, learn about in Religions classes, and donate toward the cause in homeroom,” Ms. Egan says. “Then, all students are invited to participate in a service experience with this organization.

TrusteesServiceDay“The goal is for students to have a holistic approach to service,” she adds, “through learning, giving, praying and hands-on experience.”

In the end, students raised $378.04 for three more accessible ramps for the facility, while trustees donated the money for the 200 T-shirts given to all of the participants.

Lending a Hand in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Sarah McDermottFriendship bracelets will go on sale during lunch periods on Valentine’s Day, but they have nothing to do with Cupid.

“Show your love in a different way,” says Sarah McDermott ’19, “not in a romantic way but in a platonic way, showing love for those who have suffered.”

Last week, Sarah and her classmates from the Viatorian Youth Congress and the Justice League helped to organize an after-school prayer service and workshop that drew more than 60 students.

DSC_0018Their topic? Educating classmates about the issue of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery, and offering them a way to help survivors.

The prayer service was timed with the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking, as declared by Pope Francis.

Students worked with Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian and Ms. Emily Egan, organizers also included Sergio Leudo ‘18 and Emma Perry ‘18, both Viatorian Youth Congress delegates and Trent Federighi ‘18, a core member of the Justice League.

Working to eliminate human trafficking is a core mission of the Viatorians. Consequently, delegates to last summer’s Viatorian Youth Congress learned about the issue and were encouraged to bring back what they had learned to their schools or parishes. At the same time, Justice League members take their lead from the Viatorian mission statement, which includes working for “those accounted of little importance.”

DSC_0010During the one-hour service, students showed slides and gave testimonials from a trip to the Mexican border, where deadly human trafficking occurs. They also shared statistics and even held a question and answer quiz, using the Kahoot! app.

“Some of the kids were shocked,” Sarah says. “I know it scared me when I first heard about Chicago being the epicenter of human trafficking in this country.”

She adds that the goal of the service was to make students aware of the issue described as a “crime against humanity” by Pope Francis and give them a way to help survivors.

DSC_0004“I went on the trip to the border when I was a freshman,” said Trent said, “and just seeing the ‘rape tree,’ where smugglers hung undergarments of their victims as if they were trophies, triggered my involvement. It was horrible to see.”

At the end of the service, students were able to turn their shock and grief into something positive by making the friendship bracelets. Using threads that represent the colors of human trafficking, red, green and blue, they made nearly 125 bracelets, that will be sold as a fundraiser for survivors served by the Metropolitan Family Services agency in Chicago.

PADS Volunteers Bring Muscle and Energy Every Week to Palatine Church

PADS 6They go about it quietly, but every Thursday morning at 6 a.m., a group of six to eight Saint Viator students show up to do the dirty work at a PADS site at the Presbyterian Church of Palatine: They clean up.

“It’s a huge piece of this ministry,” says Anita Kern, one of the site directors. “Last night, we had 43 guests and these teens came in and disinfected all the mattresses, bundled all the linens and carried them upstairs and cleaned the floors.”

PADS 5“I don’t know if we’d have to close the site without them,” she adds, “but we’d have a hard time finding so many people to come and do what they do.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, made the initial connection between Saint Viator students and the Palatine church and he still comes every other week to chaperone, but those original students have graduated and now others have stepped forward.

Jake Wolf ’18 concedes he came grudgingly, when his older brother, Sam ’16, told him to come and complete his required service hours for the marginalized. Once he started seeing families with young children come to the shelter, and even high school students, he knew his work was valuable.

PADS 2“Over time, it grew on me so much,” says Jake, a regional champ in wrestling. “I know where I am in life. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be able to do this.”

His enthusiasm and leadership have drawn his classmates to join him, so much so that the church has had to limit how many students show up.

“The Viatorians have taught us that our service is meaningful and that we’re called to serve people around us,” adds Anthony Maraviglia, who just committed to playing football at Johns Hopkins University next fall.

PADS 5Caitlin Kenney ’18, Dan Dababneh ’18 and Robbie Baxendale ’19 call themselves the “Pillow Crew.” They not only strip the pillowcases off, but they disinfect the plastic-lined pillows and then stack them above the pads.

“I’m always afraid they’re going to fall down,” Robbie concedes. “But we’ve got it down now. It’s become our weekly routine and you get this great feeling when you leave. It would feel weird not to go.”

PADS 1All of the teens admitted that getting up so early every week took some adjusting, but now they look forward to it.

“It’s crazy to think that by getting up just one hour earlier that we could affect people’s lives,” Caitlin says. “But then I know that this is something I can do. I might not be able to stop all the terrible things in the world, but this I can do.”

International Student Changing Lives in India

Johanna Lam 3When Johanna Lam ’19 thinks of service, she thinks beyond meeting 25 hours per year needed at Saint Viator. Instead, her hours of service immerses her with the marginalized of India, literally meeting the needs of the thousands of homeless and disabled, lying in the streets of her home city of Guntur, in southeast India.

Johanna came to Saint Viator as a sophomore to complete her high school education. As a visiting student, she is supported by the Rev. Mark Francis, CSV, International Program.

Johanna Lam 4For as long as she can remember, her family has led a campaign in surrounding villages to raise money to purchase clothes and blankets for the poor. Her grandmother started the campaign as an outreach mission with their Lutheran church, and Johanna’s parents carry it on.

When Johanna went home over Christmas break, she was able to help with the distribution, including walking the streets on Christmas Eve to give out blankets to people in the street.

“It feels so good to be able to help them,” Johanna says. “These people are lepers and the physically disabled, without shelter.

Johanna Lam 2“I don’t think of it as service,” she adds, “it’s missionary work and I love it.”

After collecting money to fund the campaign during the fall, Johanna’s father works with vendors to purchase blankets, saris for women and slacks and shirts for men.

“People come from all over for the clothes,” Johanna says. “Word has gotten out.”

Johanna Lam 1Her story stood out with Mr. Bart Hisgen in the Campus Ministry department, who helps to compile student service hours.

“I can’t believe all that you’re doing,” Mr. Hisgen told Johanna. “It’s so inspiring.”

A Saturday Morning Tradition that Changes Lives

20180111_121607A group of six seniors is completing their service requirement in a unique way: together.

Nearly every Saturday morning, they meet at the All Saints Food Pantry in Palatine to collect, sort and distribute food donations. They include Tyler Faber, Ryan Flynn, John Leininger, John Rapala, Will Sheriff and Kenny Yi.

But in the nearly two years they have been doing it, they’re gaining as much as the clients.

“The way I see it, it’s the Viatorian mission, of serving the marginalized,” says John Leininger.

The teens spend three hours there, unloading fresh produce delivered by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, before sorting through donations and ultimately filling grocery bags to distribute to the 40 or so families that will come by that day for food.

“It’s fun helping others, but especially with your friends,” says Ryan Flynn.

“It’s become our Saturday morning tradition,” adds Kenny Yi.

Cindy Williams, director of the food pantry, calls them her Saint Viator team and says she could not have asked for a more mature and helpful group of volunteers.

“They always come ready to help,” Williams says. “They don’t need to be assigned. They see something that needs to be done and they do it.”

She adds that their youthful enthusiasm is contagious and that her agency depends on drawing younger volunteers to continue its service to the community.

“They help a lot in the food pantry, but then they help the clients to their cars with their heavy bundles,” Williams adds. “I see them having conversations with the clients. They’re not just going through the motions, they’re engaging them.”

The clients, too, have noticed the young men who help them. One of them, an older woman, told senior Will Sheriff that she enjoys seeing them when she comes and that their help means a lot to her.

“And then she hugged me,” Will says. “That’s the greatest thing that’s happened to me in a while.”

While each of the seniors needs to complete 25 hours of service for the year, they are well beyond their requirement, says Bart Hisgen, campus minister.

“This doesn’t happen very often,” Hisgen says, “that you get a group of high school guys to commit at this level. And they do it week after week. They show up.”

Food for the Journey: Sunday, January 7

This week Fr. Charlie Bolser, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for The Feast of the Epiphany.

Lectionary: 20

On this Sunday, we once again hear the story of the Three Magi, who were searching for the place where the Anointed One was to be born. According to the story, they traveled a long distance, looking and searching for the one who was to bring life to the world. They even asked Herod, the ruler of Israel what he knew of this special event. The truth is, Herod, nor any of his officials understood the search, and their goal was to eliminate any threat to their power – to the throne.

The Magi continued their search – following the light that did not lead to the throne of power, but instead to a small insignificant little town, and to a child born in a manger and loved by shepherds. A fascinating contradiction; looking in places that were and are opposite of where we would normally look. We too, often, look in the wrong places, and then not finding what we are looking for – give up!

The story tells us that the Sacred Spirit of God is right in front of us and within us – and all around us. Our call, like that of the disciples, is to open our eyes – the eyes of the soul to see. We need to first, like the Magi, admit that we don’t know where to look – that we are blind. Lord heal our blindness. The success of the Magi depended on their continuing to look in expected places and then in unexpected places. Today, like then, the living Word of God, is a threat to those who are addicted to power and status – to the things that are offered to us as trinkets to silence the craving that comes from within.

The story continues, showing us that Jesus, like Moses, came to lead the people (all of the people) from Egypt to the Promised Land — from slavery to freedom. The Magi had an epiphany – they celebrated a Eureka Moment when they understood the threat to those in power.

It is only in searching — with our eyes of the mind and of the soul wide open — that are we able to experience that Eureka – that Epiphany of understanding.

Fr. Charlie Bolser, C.S.V served as president of Saint Viator High School from 1987-1998. Presently, Fr. Charlie serves as Chaplain at Saint Viator.

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.

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