Members of the Class of 1973 returned over the weekend to Saint Viator High School for their 50th reunion, and the emotions ran high. The two-day event gathered together women from Sacred Heart of Mary High School (which merged with Saint Viator in 1987) and men from Saint Viator, and both groups reminisced fondly about the professed religious who had taught them.
“Our experience at Saint Viator shaped us,” said Jim Bristol, who took turns in greeting alumni with his Sacred Heart counterpart, Loretta Griffin. “We are who we are because of this place.”
The first day of the weekend featured separate events for the men and women, while the second day featured a tour of the newly renovated — and air conditioned — school, followed by Mass and dinner in Querbes Hall.
“The entire weekend was a testament to how blessed we were to attend Saint Viator and Sacred Heart,” said Tom Chapman, who married his high school sweetheart from Sacred Heart, Maureen Schlegel, and Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, married them.
Among those to attend was Associate Pat Mahoney, who served as dean of men during their four years. Another classmate was Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, who now serves as President of Saint Viator after serving as a teacher and administrator. He welcomed graduates back to Saint Viator — a place he has called home since he first walked in the doors in 1969, his freshman year — when he opened the reunion Mass, which he concelebrated with Fr. Render.
Fr. Render held a special place to the Saint Viator alumni, and they were thrilled that he returned for their reunion. During their four years, he served a variety of roles, from religion teacher and Dean of Men to acting Principal, Associate Principal and President.
He opened his homily with this question: “How often have you changed your minds in the last 50 years?” He went on to challenge his former students to go beyond their nostalgic memories of the past and to be open to change.
“Change is a part of life. It is inevitable if you are to move forward, to grow,” he said. “An openness to those changes marks the difference between healthy growth and the hostility and resistance that Jesus was confronting (in the gospel).”
He ultimately described being open to change as “transformation.”
“As you inch towards 70 — don’t be alarmed, it’s the new 50 — my prayer is that you make room for transformation to happen in your lives,” Fr. Render said. “To open you to yet new perspectives, to new experiences, to wonder, and to the fullness of wholeness.”