VC was set up as a lay missionary association in 1960 at a time when lay people had little recognition within the mainstream Church. The organisation grew from among a group of students at University College Dublin (UCD) who were members of the Legion of Mary. It was a time of emigration in Ireland and VC provided a support framework for these young men and women who were leaving their country and parishes for the first time in search of work. The first VC members participated in pastoral work as volunteers during holiday periods in England and Scotland helping these emigrants with their new lives.
In 1960, the first members went on assignment to Nigeria. In 1961 members departed for Peru, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. In 1966, VC purchased 9 Harcourt Terrace, which was to be their home until 1986. In 1970 the ‘Friends of Viatores Christi’ group was formed to enable people to support V.C. financially and by their prayers. In October 1976, VC became an independent association. A constitution and an operational manual for the association was drawn up the following year. In 1986, VC purchased the premises at 38/39 Gardiner Street Upper. It was sold in 2009 and VC moved to 8 New Cabra Road. Dublin, which continues to be its headquarters.
Today, VC continues to specialise in the area of faith-based support. In recent years the organisation has made a transition to a development organisation specialising in the recruitment, training and placement of skilled volunteers in the missionary/faith based sector. The organisation is needs-driven focusing on assignments in projects identified by its partners in the field which meet the needs of their beneficiaries. VC currently works in Africa, Asia and the Americas with upwards of thirty volunteers in the field at any one time.
VC are signatories to the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for volunteer sending organisations, an independent organisation set up in Ireland to ensure good practice in the sector.
The organisation is run by a CEO who reports to a board of directors/council members. There are 9 directors and one co-opted director appointed by the members who are elected at the AGM each year. There are a further five trustees who are also elected at the AGM as serve as guardians of the association. Council is made up of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and six additional members. It meets monthly and is responsible for policy and other governance issues including approving membership of the Association.
Incorporation and Structure
Viatores Christi Limited (Company No. 68333) is incorporated under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2013 as a Company Limited by Guarantee and not having a share capital. It is also a registered charity (No. 5526). It was set up as a Lay Association under the auspices of the Catholic Church in Ireland in 1960. VC has two full time and three part time staff members and an active intern programme
1960 – Present
- 1960 The first members went on assignment in 1960 to Nigeria. The following year members departed for Peru, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
- 1966 To facilitate the increase in numbers, it was agreed to purchase 9 Harcourt Terrace, which was to be home to Viatores Christi until 1986.
- 1968 Most Rev. Dr. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin blessed and opened the new headquarters at Harcourt Terrace, Dublin 2. The President of Ireland, Mr. Eamon De Valera was also present. Over 200 members of Viatores Christi had gone overseas on assignment to 25 countries by this time.
- 1970 The ‘Friends of Viatores Christi‘ group was formed to enable people to support V.C. financially and by their prayers.
- 1976 In October, Viatores Christi became an independent association receiving great support from the Irish Bishops and missionary congregations.
- 1977 This year saw the constitutional committee draw up a constitution for Viatores Christi. A separate committee drew up an operational manual for the association. Both were agreed by the membership.
- 1986 We had outgrown 9 Harcourt Terrace and we had to find a new home. Following a major fundraising campaign we purchased the premises at 38/39 Gardiner Street Upper, Dublin, which continues to be our headquarters.
- 2005 Viatores Christi celebrates its 45th anniversary! Since 1960, approximately 2000 members have served in 46 countries.
- 2006 This year saw a re-introduction of Home Mission. This is an opportunity to work full- time in Ireland in a voluntary capacity.
- 2008 Moved to new premises at 8 New Cabra Road, Phibsboro, Dublin 7.
- 2009 July – October rennovations carried out in our new premises
- 2010 Celebrated 50 years:Highlights during this year were-
- February Archbishop Diarmuid Martin celebrated Mass and blessed our new building.
- April Viatores held Jubilee dinner in the Gresham hotel.
- 2013 Strategic Planning Passes through Council resulting in the appointment of CEO.
- 2014 Opperational plan produced for three year period.