The Viatorian Community realized a dream this year when Cristo Rey St. Viator achieved its goal of having all four classes (freshmen — seniors) enrolled in the first four years of the school.

Fr. Thomas von Behren explains the new tradition to seniors.

Consequently, with its first senior class comes new traditions, like the ring ceremony. Seniors and their parents gathered Wednesday for a blessing of the rings and the distribution. Led by Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, Br. Carlos Florez, CSV, and other school officials, each student received distinctive class rings.

The rings were part of their graduation package worked out with Jostens, the Minneapolis-based company known for production of yearbooks and class rings. Each of the 56 seniors could select their own stone color and personalize the ring with their initials.

“A tradition has begun that will continue in the future,” Fr. von Behren said. “The seniors have their ring facing inward for now, and on the day of the graduation we will have them turn their ring facing outwards — as they go forth into the world of college and universities and work.”

Fr. von Behren is the founding president of Cristo Rey St. Viator. Formerly he served as president of both Bishop Gorman and Saint Viator high schools, where at both institutions the ring ceremony was a valued tradition.

“The seniors were thrilled to receive their rings,” he added. “It’s a sign that graduation is soon approaching and throughout the day they would show off their rings to the underclassmen, and faculty and staff.”

Their pride, he said, was tangible, adding: “For me, I share that pride and joy in their accomplishments and I look forward to what the future will hold for them.”

Br. Carlos Florez distributes ashes.

The ring ceremony was followed by an Ash Wednesday Mass celebrated in the school’s chapel, where students were challenged to embrace the three pillars of Lent: prayer, almsgiving and fasting. However in Fr. von Behren’s homily, he brought home those traditional Lenten obligations to the students’ level.

“Make your prayer a prayer of love in action. In terms of giving, give not so much from your wallets as from your hearts, with kindness and compassion. As for fasting, fast not so much from food but from those things in your individual lives that makes you less than holy and less loving persons.”