Our group met at the art center and later took the trolley to the Laredo Community College, situated on the site of the historic Fort McIntosh. We took a guided walking tour of the environmental science center and were entertained by a couple of dancers from the Folklorico Ballet before returning to the art center for the delicious three-course meal prepared by Chano Aldrete.
After lunch we viewed two films— the story of the TX Tropical Trail and the history of Fort McIntosh— presented by Rick Villarreal and Margarita Araiza, respectively.
After the meeting, we exited the art center along with four lovely women from Hebbronville. They excitedly shared their good news: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church has undergone its transformation. “You have to come back for a visit! The church is beautiful,” the ladies enthused. We agreed to return, most likely during the town’s Vaquero Festival on November 6-7.
Around the plaza
Steven and I headed to the hotel to await our very first dieciséis de septiembre celebration, which was set to start with “el grito” at the plaza across from La Posada.
Around six, we walked over to the San Agustin Cathedral before strolling around the plaza, but the front door was locked. We talked to a young woman who’d grown up in Laredo. Gigi, now a middle school teacher, told us about her Catholic school experience in the building next to the church. She encouraged us to return the following morning when the church would be open again, said she’d introduce her family to us if we saw each other later, then left to find her loved ones at the plaza.
We enjoyed the view from where we stood before crossing the street to join in the festivities.
We took lots of photos and mingled with others who, like us, enjoyed the entertainment, the freebies, and the tantalizing aromas of gastronomic delights.
Once back in front of the hotel, I couldn’t help but wonder about the opposite end of the cathedral. “Let’s go check out what’s behind the wall. I want to see the other side,” I insisted, even though Steven reminded me that the church was closed.
As we walked past the gate onto the churchyard, we saw the priest making his way toward the plaza. “Excuse me, Father,” Steven said. “We’re from out of town, so we’d like to visit the church before we leave. What time is Mass tomorrow?”
“At noon, but you can go in now. Just enter through that door,” he responded, motioning to the wooden doors behind him.
Overjoyed, we thanked him and hurried in for a look.
As we entered, we noticed the couple cleaning the church. I explained that the priest had given us permission to look around.
We took photos until the man informed us that Father had said to lock up the church. I thanked him, adding that the church is beautiful and reminiscent of the one in Brownsville, which was also established by the Oblates. The man smiled and spoke proudly about the church before we bid each other goodnight.
Savoring the evening
Steven and I walked happily back to the plaza. We took in the sights and sounds for a while before opting for dinner at the hotel restaurant.
We sat and talked about the day as we gazed at the happenings through the window. The plaza and its surrounding areas were standing-room only by then. We took our time, conversing with both Tony, our lighthearted waiter, and our gracious hostess, who spoke glowingly about her family. Then, for dessert, we stepped back out onto Zaragosa Street to savor the dieciséis de septiembre celebration through its flavorful music, dancing, and ambiance in Laredo’s historic downtown district.
We had a fantabulous time!
Links of interest… 16 de septiembre… Augustine of Hippo: apostolic letter (JPII) / author / bishop & doctor / book on prayer / confessions / doctor of grace (more) / for all seasons / memorial (Aug 28) / on the Beatitudes / prayers / prodigal son / raised to new life / seeking God / thinking faith… Ft. McIntosh: about (more) / army post / history… Laredo: churches / center for the arts / Chano Aldrete / community college / La Posada Hotel history / Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center (facebook) / museums / tours (events – heritage walking tour)… San Agustin: cathedral (diocesan page – facebook – history – “living glory” – Mass times) / historic district / obispo (bishop)… TX Tropical Trail Region…