More than one million people lined the route to Simon Bolívar Park in Bogotá, to greet Pope Francis before he celebrated his first public Mass during his recent visit to Colombia — and Viatorians were in attendance.
Six Viatorians were among the hundreds of priests who concelebrated the Mass with the pontiff, including Fr. Alexandro Adame, Fr. Edgar Suárez, Fr. Frank Enciso, Fr. Edwin Ruiz, Fr. Carlos Luis and Fr. Pedro Herrera.
Fr. Herrera — who serves as president of Colegio San Viator in the city of Tunja and was the first Viatorian vocation in Colombia — said the experience was deeply moving.
“It was an opportunity to feel Pope Francis close,” Fr. Herrera said. “Listening to his words, it was as if he
spoke directly to our situation. He made me question the way I live out my life as a Christian — and as a priest — and it made me reflect on my religious life and the way I am living it.”
Earlier that same day, Pope Francis held a special encounter with young people from Bogotá. A group of 60 from St. Viator Parish attended the encounter, which took place at the Plaza de Bolívar, located in front of the Cathedral of Bogotá, and another 16 served as volunteers.
Also, students from Colegio San Viator in Bogotá attended the encounter with the pontiff. Students across the city were exempt from going to school that day, as mandated by the Office of Education of Bogotá.
“All of his speeches or homilies were very grounded and made an impact on people,” Fr. Herrera added. “It was all very meaningful to all of us.”