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Election of a New Provincial Superior Steeped in Tradition

November 29, 2018

Just over 50 years ago, in 1967, Viatorians voted at their General Chapter meeting to give

Members of the General Chapter Meeting from 1967

members the chance to nominate and elect a provincial superior and members of his provincial council — rather than have them appointed by the superior general.

It was a landmark decision and came in the wake of Vatican II, that mandated among other things that all religious communities rediscover the original purpose of their respective orders — and adapt it to the modern world.

“We are entering into a new phase of our life as religious,” wrote former Superior General Fr. Jean-Réal Pigeon, CSV, in a 1969 letter to Viatorians. “This invitation to religious to participate more fully and directly in the choice of their leaders is a sign of the confidence the church as placed in the judgment and maturity of its adult religious.”

Fr. Edward Anderson, CSV, circa 1969

The first election took place in 1969, in the library of Saint Viator High School, where Viatorians elected Fr. Edward Anderson, CSV, as their provincial. Over the next 49 years, they have elected six more provincials — some serving only one term, while others were elected to a maximum of three terms.

Each time, Viatorians have retained the same procedure of having every professed member submit a vote — or have a proxy if they are unable to be there. Over the years, as the province has expanded, the procedure has adapted. Now, technology plays a role.

Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, Superior General, checks out the video conferencing ahead of the provincial election

Viatorians will gather in Arlington Heights, Las Vegas and in Bogotá, Colombia during the vote. They will participate together, via a face-to-face, group conferencing platform. Fr. Robert Egan, CSV, Superior General, will oversee the process and celebrate afterwards with the community at Mass.

According to the Viatorian constitution, “The Provincial Superior is the first superior and pastor in his province. His principal role is to promote the spiritual and apostolic life of the religious and the local communities of the province, in response to the needs of local churches and in conformity with the particular nature of the congregation.”