What do the NFL franchise, the Raiders, and the Viatorian Community in Las Vegas share in common? Both started more than 60 years ago — the Viatorians arrived in Las Vegas in 1954 and the Raiders held their first team meeting with the American Football League in 1959. Their paths will cross this month, when the Raiders, now based in Las Vegas, will play their first game on Sunday.
The Las Vegas Raiders open against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, but return to Las Vegas for their home opener on Sept. 21 at Allegiant Stadium — and Viatorians will be cheering, from a distance.
“There is a lot of excitement here,” says Fr. Thomas von Behren, president of Cristo Rey St. Viator in North Las Vegas, “but unfortunately no one can attend the games in the brand new stadium.”
Still, he concedes the new NFL franchise in town will do a lot for local residents during this unprecedented time.
While Viatorians minister to local residents in their parish and schools, and the Las Vegas Raiders are hoping to jumpstart the local economy, both groups are working to uplift a city hit hard by the pandemic, with record unemployment currently at 16 percent.
Here’s a video that introduces them: