It’s busy season at Cristo Rey St. Viator in North Las Vegas, with college nights, retreats, regional basketball and musical rehearsals going on, to name just a few, and that’s in addition to their classes and corporate work experiences.

Archbishop Thomas, left, and Fr. Tom von Behren distribute ashes.

Yet, the school community came together as one Wednesday, when they rolled out the “purple carpet” to welcome Archbishop George Leo Thomas, the school. It wasn’t his first visit to the school, but the first time he celebrated Mass — and his visit came on Ash Wednesday.

Members of the school’s administration greeted him, including President Lisa Burkhead, Principal Dr. Erica Romero and Br. Carlos Florez, CSV, Director of Catholic & Viatorian Identity, as well as students, faculty and staff. Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, founding president of CRSV, joined with the Archbishop as a concelebrant of the Mass and he and Br. Carlos also assisted in the distribution of ashes to the school community.

In his homily, Archbishop Thomas reflected up on the theme of ashes and the promise of the Resurrection found in the saving acts of the passion, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The “purple carpet” welcome, reflecting the season of Lent, included students sharing instrumental and vocal accompaniment, as well as the creation of the Lenten ambience by Br. Carlos. Much of the floral and Lenten scenery came directly from Br. Carlos’ renowned garden and palm florals in his backyard.

“With his purple touch of Lent, the setting offered a reminder of the pillars of Lent:  prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” Fr. Tom said.

He added that with the presence of Archbishop Thomas, the Ash Wednesday celebration, which signals the start of Lent, was a special and prayerful experience for all.