The graduation ceremony at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago always opens with a parade of flags representing the many countries where students come from to earn their degrees. Among them this year, was Br. Jhobany Orduz, CSV, flag bearer for his native Colombia.

Br. Jhobany carries in the Colombian flag.

“I only can say that the Holy Spirit is moving me from my comfort zone to places and situations I never imagined before,” Br. Jhobany said, before earning his Master’s of Divinity. “It has been a journey that began when I met the Viatorians in Bogotá, Colombia, and continues every day.”

Br. Jhobany was one of three Viatorians to receive degrees Thursday at the ceremony held at Congregation Rodfei Zedek, located near CTU in Hyde Park.

Joining him were Br. John Eustice, CSV, who also earned a Master’s in Divinity and was voted to give the student speech, and Associate Kim Martinez, the first female associate to earn the John E. Linnan, CSV, Theology and Ministry Endowed Scholarship. Kim, who teaches theology at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, earned her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies.

“This endeavor has been so lifegiving both to my own personal faith journey and as a part of the Viatorian Community,” Kim said. “I have worked for many years in Catholic education, but this gave me the opportunity to learn so many great things about our Church and our world, and to bring them to life in my classroom and on retreats.

Associate Kim Martinez proudly displays her diploma.

“I feel that as an associate, I am able to bring much more to the life of our community,” she added, “by using what I have gained to help us to grow and deepen in our journey together.”

For Br. John, earning his degree came after nearly 20 years as a religious brother and two weeks before he will be ordained to the priesthood.

Br. John was chosen by his peers to offer a reflection.

“For the past six years I have been working on this degree and I’ve learned how to be present to people through the sacraments,” Br. John says. “I look forward to continuing the work God has started as a presider of the sacraments and liturgies, while continuing to minister to and with young people as they explore their relationship with God, others and self.”

Having three Viatorians earn advanced degrees in one night was cause for a celebration. Consequently, Br. Jhobany, Br. John and Kim were surrounded by Viatorians who came to support them, including: Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial and former CTU President; Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, a CTU board member; Associate Karen Cutler; Br. Peter Lamick, CSV; Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV; Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, and Br. Rob Robertson, CSV.

For Br. Peter Lamick, it was his first time attending a graduation ceremony for Viatorians — and he was impressed.

“Our three graduates reflect the vitality and zeal present in the Viatorian Community,” he said. “Anything but complacent, our three graduates exemplify the Querbesian spirit, striving to do everything well so that Jesus may be adored and loved.

“I also was captivated by the diversity of the graduating class,” he added, “men and women, ordained and lay, from countries throughout the entire world. It was a real experience of the global dimension of the Catholic Church.”