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Colombian Students Add New Dimension to VYC

August 13, 2018

The Viatorian Youth Congress celebrated its ninth edition this year with a whole new delegation: three

(L-R) Duvan Medina, Ian Casteñada, Natalia Martinez, Associate Karen Cutler and Camila Mendez

students attended from the bilingual Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, and by all accounts they fit right in.

“Their presence helped show the internationality of our community,” said Br. John Eustice, CSV, who planned the congress with Associate Karen Cutler.

Duvan Medina, who heads up the pastoral department at the colegio, accompanied students Ian Castenada, Natalia Martinez and Camila Mendez to the congress.

“This was a great opportunity for us to get to know Viatorians from other schools,” Duvan said. “We learned that the Viatorian identity goes beyond borders.”

Karen agreed, adding: “They added a whole new dimension to our youth congress.”

The Colombian students and their moderator took in some Chicago sightseeing after the congress

Fr. Albeyro Vanegas, CSV, serves as president of the colegio and he also serves on the Provincial Council with Br. John Eustice and Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, provincial. It was Fr. Albeyro who inquired whether students from the colegio could attend VYC.

“At the end of the day, they were just like other teenagers,” Br. John added. “They blended right in.”

The four-day event brings together high school and college students in delegations from places where Viatorians minister. Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, created the congress as a way to advance the Viatorian mission in young people, and over the years it has grown into a retreat, youth rally and leadership conference.

During their stay, the Colombian delegation met with (L-R) Br. Carlos Flórez and Fr. Alain Ambeault, Superior General, and Fr. Tom von Behren, second from right

Right from the first introductions, the Colombian students displayed so much enthusiasm at being included, that it was contagious.

“I am so excited to be here,” exclaimed Ian as he introduced himself and his delegation.

Viatorians began a parish and school in Bogota, more than 50 years ago and just last year added a second school in Tunja, Colombia. Their commitment to the country and its people has led to more and more vocations, and a growing awareness here in this country of Colombia and its rich cultural heritage.