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Basilian Fathers Celebrate Bicentennial with a Pilgrimage

June 30, 2022

For 200 Years, the Basilian Fathers Have Practiced their Mission of Education and Evangelization in France, Canada, United States, Mexico, and Colombia

The ten founders of the Congregation of St. Basil came together in 1822 to respond to urgent need for Christian education in the increasingly secularized France following the French Revolution. The Basilians have remained true to their founding mission of providing Catholic education to those in need.

Commemorating 200 Years of Ministry

On June 1, 2022 Fathers Kevin Storey, John Huber, Morgan Rice, Pedro Mora and Alejandro Estrada, CSB began a Bicentennial Pilgrimage commemorating the Basilian founding by travelling to the Congregation’s birthplace in Annonay, France in the region of Ardèche.

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, anti-clerical laws had forced a group of priests to operate schools in secret in the region of the Ardèche, located in the mountains of central France. These ten priests became the founding fathers of the Congregation of St. Basil.

“The Congregation of Saint Basil is one of the rare communities founded by several men rather than by one charismatic founder. Undoubtedly, this unique situation has inspired an unspoken charism of men of various backgrounds and personalities working together to serve God’s People and the Church in the needs of the times, especially in the area of Catholic education.” remarked Rev. John Huber, CSB.

Their time in France began with Mass at College Sacré-Coeur, in Annonay, France where they celebrated a bicentennial mass on the Feast of Pentecost. Monsignor Jean-Louis Balsa, Bishop of Viviers, presided and Father John Huber, CSB preached.

The next stop in their pilgrimage was the Chapel of Saint Basile, a small chapel that dates back to the 13th century, located in the hamlet of Saint Basile in the Ardèche. It was there that the Basilian founders from the nearby Maisonseule came to celebrate Mass and the towns people began to call them “Les prêtres de Saint-Basile”, the Priests of Saint Basil, or the Basilians.

Blessings Upon Future Ministry

The Basilians culminated their pilgrimage in Rome where they were honored with a private audience with Pope Francis and celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Peter’s Basilica. During the Offertory, the name of every Basilian Associate, Novice, Scholastic, Priest, and Lay Associate was read aloud.

“Our 10 founders may not recognize the community they founded, as we have adapted and expanded our ministry to five countries, but I believe they would be proud we have stayed true to our founding mission of providing Catholic education to those in need” said Very Rev. Kevin Storey, CSB, Superior General of the Congregation.

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