Seniors took a final walk-through at Cristo Rey St. Viator before their baccalaureate Mass and graduation last week, and it was an memorable one. Led by a Mariachi band, the seniors in the caps and gowns marched through the familiar hallways, while students, faculty and staff all cheered in an emotional send-off.

But that was just the start. Their baccalaureate Mass took place Friday, May 17 at St. Viator Catholic Community. Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, the school’s first president, was the main presider. He was joined by as many as five priests on the altar, including Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, Pastor, and Fr. William Harsaert, CSV, and Bishops Gregory W. Gordon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Las Vegas.

Commencement exercises took place Sunday, May 19 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino’s International Theater. Among the awards and speeches was the presentation of the second annual Fr. Thomas von Behren Scholarship. This year’s recipient was Harper Weakley, who is heading in the fall to Chapman University in Orange, CA where he plans to study computer science.

Fr. Thomas von Behren with scholarship recipient Harper Weakley

In receiving the scholarship, Harper met its criteria of demonstrating outstanding academic success, personal leadership and exhibiting personal and moral integrity. The scholarship was created in 2023 in recognition of Fr. von Behren’s leadership in serving as the school’s founding president and overseeing its first four years.

“It is a true honor to have a scholarship in my name,” Fr. von Behren said, “however the real honor is that the Viatorian Community has chosen to commit our financial support to deserving students who would otherwise not be able to attend the college or university of their choice.”

In all, the class of 2024 included 46 graduates, who earned a total of $1.86 million in scholarships and grants.

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial, congratulated graduates in a special message in the graduation program: “As you begin the next chapter of your lives, remember the lessons learned within these walls: to strive for excellence, to stand up for justice, and to never lose sight of the power of faith and community. Your journey may not always be easy, but with courage and determination, you will continue to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness.”

In closing, Fr. Francis added: “The world awaits your contribution.”