They came from Arlington Heights and Waukegan, as well as from Kankakee, Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev. The teenage delegates and their college-aged interns -- more than 60 in all -- represented parishes and schools where the Viatorians minister and educate young people about their religious faith.
For the second year, the Clerics of Saint Viator mounted the youth congress which took place from Aug. 1-4 in Techny and at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.
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"The youth congress allows these young people to see how they are connected to a much larger mission than just their parish or school," said the Rev. Corey Brost, CSV, spiritual director for the event.
Among the delegates were eight students from St. Viator High School as well as six from St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan, who met their counterparts from Nevada, where Viatorians staff two parishes.
"This is my first time being with Viatorians," said Andrea Perea from Nevada, "and especially being from Las Vegas, you just don't see so many people committed to their faith like I've seen here."
The congress sought to unpack the spirituality of the Viatorian community, drawing attention to the importance of communal liturgical events, a rich interior life of prayer, and tangible ways to get involved in the life of social concerns.
Their agenda included interviewing Viatorian associates and professed members to learn about their rich history with the community.
Youth delegates also were called upon to describe ways they had shared their faith in their communities. St. Viator students told of packing meals for malnourished children in Third World countries, while St. Martin de Porres students described renovating a building to serve as a women's shelter in Waukegan.
Those students from Nevada descried how they had organized activities for children living in temporary housing in Las Vegas.
"Our intentions are clear," Brost added. "We want to help young people fall in love with God and become active participants in the life of the Viatorian community."
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