Br. Carlos Flórez, CSV, professed his first vows as a Viatorian on Dec. 8, 1993, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. He professed his vows in the chapel at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, his native Colombia, where he started as a teacher and eventually directed Campus Ministry.
Now, 30 years later he celebrated his anniversary as a Viatorian at another Viatorian school, this time surrounded by the students and staff at Cristo Rey St. Viator College Preparatory High School.
Once again, the celebration took place on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and it paid tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe as well, with students dressed in Mexican folkloric costumes, processing up to her image to present bouquets of roses.
Br. Carlos has been involved with Cristo Rey St. Viator since the start. As the first Director of Admissions and Recruitment, he helped to seat the first four classes of students at the school. He now serves as Director of Catholic &
Viatorian Identity and Mission.
In reflecting on reaching 30 years in vows, Br. Carlos said the four words that repeatedly come to mind are “gratitude, community, service and hope.”
Gratitude: As a religious, I have received even more than the Lord’s promised “hundredfold.” (Mark 10:30). “What can I do here and now to prove to God that I am grateful?” There is always a reason to be grateful if God and your brothers and sisters are in your heart.
Community: Strong communities are made of those chains of friendship that cross generations and tie us to one another, however distant we may seem. Like the ropes of mountain climbers, the love of brothers holds us fast when everything in life around us — our health, ministry, faith, and spiritual life. As a religious, communion in Christ is expressed in a stable and visible way through community life.
Service: Serving others is more than keeping up with your to-do list. To be a servant means we genuinely need to care about people. It’s keeping our eyes, hearts, and schedules open for divine appointments. Jesus was not hurried, stressed by time, worried about what others thought of Him, or overwhelmed by a list of tasks to accomplish each day. Instead, He was led by the Spirit of God and followed His promptings to serve, love, and help others. No task was ever beneath Jesus, and no person was ever unworthy.
Hope: I have an abiding sense of hope as I celebrate my 30th anniversary in religious life. Because of who God is and how He has revealed Himself to the Church, to the Viatorians, and to me, I trust that He who has begun the good work in me will bring it to fulfillment. (Philippians 1:6) I have hope, I know that the Lord continues to bring good young men into the Viatorian Community—men who embrace the hope of Fr. Querbes called for “wish to distinguish themselves in the service of Christ the King.”