It was 60 years ago that Viatorians opened Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. In recognition of this milestone, a momentous anniversary celebration took place earlier this month that featured everything from a parade, musical performances and dancing; to a heartfelt tribute to the founders, a 60th tree planted and a Mass celebrated with Viatorian and diocesan priests.
At the root of the festivities was a recognition of the Viatorian spirit, which is woven into every part of the colegio’s mission.
“I want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Clerics of St. Viator of the Province of Chicago, the Viatorian founders and their successors for introducing Fr Louis Querbes’ legacy to this part of the world and for integrating us into the Viatorian dream,” said Fr. Alejandro Adame, CSV, Principal.
The celebration began with a heartfelt tribute to the three Viatorians who arrived in Colombia in 1962 and ultimately opened the school in 1963: Fr. James Crilly, CSV, Fr. Thomas Wise, CSV, and Fr. Adalbert Mayr, CSV, followed quickly by Fr. Timothy Judd, CSV, and Fr. William Fisherkeller, CSV.
“These visionary figures were the architects of the Viatorian mission that took root with their momentous arrival in Colombia,” Fr. Adame said.
A vibrant parade paid tribute to the school’s rich history, with floats representing each of the six decades, accompanied by music from the time period and dances.
A dedication ceremony followed, with Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial, planting the last of 60 trees on the school’s campus.
“These 60 trees stand as a living testament to the dreams and experiences of the students who have graduated over the school’s six decades,” Fr. Adame said. “They also embody the school’s deep commitment to the environment, a vital aspect of our Viatorian culture.”
This same ceremony also featured the presentation of two houses, funded by students’ donations. School officials worked with Fr. Diego Jaramillo, CJM, and the Minuto de Dios Foundation, to present keys to two chosen families who face many economic, social and health difficulties. The presentation reflected a commitment to social responsibility that has been at the heart of the colegio’s mission for 60 years.
The celebration culminated Nov. 3 with a musical presentation and Mass of thanksgiving, that drew the entire school community, as well as parents, alumni, dignitaries from the city and Viatorian associates and professed. Monsignor Germán Medina, Auxiliary Bishop of Bogotá was the main celebrant, with Fr. Francis and Bishop Christopher Glancy, CSV, concelebrating.
Joining in this sacred ceremony were members of the Provincial Council, Fr. Thomas Von Behren, CSV, Fr. Edgar Suárez, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosh, CSV, along with several Viatorians from Colombia and other invited priests.
Finally, school officials presented the first Fr. John A. Pisors, CSV, Award, which was created to recognize a lifetime of service to the Viatorian mission. It was given to Fr Pedro Herrera, CSV, the first Viatorian religious born in Colombia.
“This moment served not only as an acknowledgment of Fr. Pedro’s dedicated service,” Fr. Adame added, “but also as a celebration of the enduring legacy of the Viatorian Community.”