Br. Carlos Florez, CSV, celebrated 30 years as a Viatorian last year, including the last five years when he has been involved with the founding of Cristo Rey St. Viator. As its first Director of Admissions and Recruitment, he helped to seat the first four classes of students at the school. He now serves as Director of Catholic & Viatorian Identity.

Mrs. Lisa Burkhead with Br. Carlos Florez

Last week, his efforts were recognized. At the faculty luncheon, Br. Carlos was announced as this year’s recipient of the Fr. Louis Querbes Award, in recognition of his educational and pastoral leadership, through word and example.

Mrs. Lisa Burkhead, President of Cristo Rey St. Viator, presented Br. Carlos with the award. As members of the school’s leadership team, they work together to help students become men and women of faith, purpose and service.

In particular, Br. Carlos helps to plan the all-school liturgies, feast day celebrations, retreats and service opportunities in the community. The native of Bogotá, Colombia has a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and he brings that zeal to the school community.

For his part, Br. Carlos said he was surprised and honored. He loves Cristo Rey St. Viator and how the Viatorian mission and vision have shaped the school and the adults alike.

“Each day, I try to be present, positive and always there for the students and their families,” Br. Carlos says. “To be recognized for my ministry is gratifying, but I do what I do for the benefit of the students and the Cristo Rey Saint Viator community.”

Br. Carlos assists Fr. Tom von Behren in blessing VYC delegates.

The award is named after the founder of the Viatorians, the Venerable Louis Querbes, who formed the religious community in 1831 in France. Right from the start, its mission was one of proclaiming the gospel and educating the young.

At Cristo Rey St. Viator, Br. Carlos has worked to advance that mission. He began his ministry with the Viatorians as a teaching brother and campus ministry director at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá. Five years later, he would leave his native country and serve with Viatorians at their mission in Belize, offering liturgy training to lay ministers.

Colombia would call him back to serve as vocations director before he first arrived in the United States in 2004. Over the next 12 years, Br. Carlos would lead the Hispanic ministry at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, serve as admissions director at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in suburban Waukegan, and as a key staff member at the Viatorian Province Center. He also became an American citizen.

Br. Carlos and Associate Deborah Perez partner with students to volunteer at Three Square food bank.

In 2012, Br. Carlos was appointed by Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, then Superior General, as a member of his General Council, and in that role, he traveled to Viatorian institutions around the world. After his term ended, Br. Carlos began working with Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, and his Viatorian Community in laying the groundwork to open Cristo Rey St. Viator.