St. Anthony’s finally

For years the small church off Highway 44 on the drive to and from Corpus Christi, TX fascinated me.

Then, at a dinner hosted by St. Joseph Church in Port Aransas, TX in 2009, we happened to sit at a table with some really nice folks from that little church.

“Y’all need to come visit one of these days soon,” they said.

Wish in progress

This past Sunday we took advantage of Steven’s not serving at St. Joseph’s and headed out to St. Anthony Church in Violet between Corpus Christi and Robstown.

Early in the week Steven had checked Parishes Online and found two Sunday morning Masses listed— eight and ten— so we’d agreed on the latter.

We arrived at nine-thirty-eight, and what did we see?  A parking lot full of cars and no one in sight!

“Looks like Mass is in progress,” Steven said.

“Oh, my, gosh!  Did we get the hour wrong?”

Since the day was very cold, we checked the schedule nearby before daring to get off the vehicle.  Only nine o’clock Mass was listed.  What to do, what to do.

“There’s St. Anthony’s in Robstown,” Steven offered.

“Or St. Michael the Archangel in Banquete, and we can surprise Fr. Tito.”

While Steven accessed Parishes Online on his phone, I took photos.

“My heart’s been set on this place for years, but I think God has another plan for us,” I consoled myself out loud.  “Wherever we end up is where we’re meant to be.”

“I hope the listings for St. Anthony’s in Robstown are correct,” Steven said.  “If not, we’ll have to come up with another plan.”

“It’ll all work out.  You’ll see.”

Looking for St. Anthony

Locating the church wasn’t as easy as we’d thought.  We had to stop for Steven to consult his phone again.  We were so concerned about Mass times that we didn’t even think about using Onstar for directions.

Then we saw the church.  The parking spaces were full all around, so we started feeling anxious again.  What if we were late again?  What if we’d missed the last Mass?

We agreed to wait however long we had to for the next Mass— there had to be noon Mass— so Steven parked the vehicle as close to church as possible.

As we made our way to the entrance, we noticed the man on the corner.  Is he waiting to pick up someone after Mass? we wondered.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning!” I smiled.

Walking past my doubts resurfaced.  What if we’re late again?  What if the man thinks us silly for walking to church when Mass is about to end?  “I hope we’re not late again,” I said to Steven.

Entering St. Anthony of Padua, we saw a church full of parishioners through the glass doors in the vestibule.

“Oh, my gosh!  We’re late again!  How can this be?  What time did you say Mass was starting?” I asked with my heart in my hands.

I thought about my students and the magic of threes that added excitement to their written stories.  Is this to be a story to remember?  One to look back on and learn from, as in, next time call ahead to confirm Mass times?

Overwrought with conflicting emotions, I didn’t even think to look for a bulletin when we entered church.

Oh, the drama of it all!  Maybe we should’ve gone to St. Joseph’s instead?  Then my inner voice chided me.  No!  I don’t think so!  It’ll all work out somehow.

I was greatly concerned.  We don’t like to be late for Mass, much less miss Mass.

“We could head back to Flour Bluff,” I suggested.

“We wouldn’t make it in time for eleven o’clock Mass,” Steven replied.

We opened one of the glass doors, slinkered in, and stood in the back waiting for the usher to lead us to our seats.  Only he didn’t acknowledge us!

“May we walk in?” I asked quietly, almost pleading to be allowed in.  Clearly, Mass was in progress and we were very late!

The man smiled calmly, almost like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.  Or like the Mona Lisa.

What does he know that we don’t?  Why did he simply nod and gesture with his hand for us to proceed?  I felt so foolish!

The closer we slithered to the nearest pew with two seats along the center aisle, the more I panicked.  We sat and, with eyes fixed on the priest, I removed my coat.

Oh, my gosh!  How could this be?  The priest was cleaning the cup!  Again we’d arrived too late!  To make matters worse, the Mass was being taped, and the camera was on the church goers— with us prominently in view!

Horror of horrors!!!  We’ve really done it this time!  Wide-eyed and freaking out, I turned to Steven and calmly whispered, “The priest’s wrapping things up.  We’ve arrived late yet again.  Shall we go?”

For a cool cucumber, Steven looked distraught!

We’d wanted so much to be on time, so how could we have messed up so badly?  We quickly and quietly— no doubt sticking out like a sore thumb— got up and, as noiselessly as humanly possible, made our way into the vestibule.  But why was it much fuller than when we’d arrived?


I was beyond dismayed but not about to pass up a golden opportunity.  My third eye had too much to photograph!

Steven rolled his eyes but waited nonetheless by a small table near the exit where a woman stood holding papers— bulletins maybe— in her arms.

I took photos as usual and then, turning toward Steven, noticed a few bulletins on the corner of the small table.  Mass times!  I reached out for one, showed Steven the schedule, and then turned to the woman on my left.

“Is there a Mass after this one?”

“Yes,” she said softly.

Late but early

“So we haven’t missed Mass then?” I asked incredulously.

The woman smiled.  “No.  Nine o’clock Mass is running late, but ten-thirty Mass will start on time.”

“Oh, my, gosh!” I laughed.  “We were so worried we’d missed it!  You see, we drove in from out of town and had no idea what was going on.”  Not feeling shy at all, I told the woman about our brief time in Violet.  “I’m Deli,” I said, extending my hand to shake hers.  “This is Steven.”

“I’m Noemi.”

“We’re friends with Fr. Tito Ayo.”

Noemi’s eyes lit up.

She knows him! I thought, before continuing.

“After we met Fr. Tito last May, I searched online for Catholic churches in Robstown.  I thought he might be at St. Anthony’s, but he wasn’t.  He said that other SOLT priests were in residence here, but I’ve wanted to attend Mass at this church ever since.  Is it okay to take photos?”

St. Anthony’s finally

“Today’s ten-thirty Mass is special,” Noemi explained.  “The children’s Mass happens just once a month.  Twelve o’clock Mass follows right after.  Sunday mornings the first Mass starts at six; the last one, at twelve.  If you want to take pictures, there’s not much time in between so you’ll need to hurry.”

“I’m so glad I asked!  Thank you so much!”

That little confidence eased our waiting.  As parishioners exited and newcomers filled the church, we settled down to enjoying the inclusive ambiance.  I took photos before and after Mass until right before noon when we braced ourselves to endure the damp cold outdoors as I took the last of my photos.

We’d enjoyed ourselves among the wonderful parishioners despite our initial struggle to find Mass earlier, first in Violet, then in Robstown.  Still, we’d ended up where we’d needed to be— at St. Anthony’s, finally.















Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  SOLT…  St. Anthony (Hwy 44): Discover MassGCatholic / Oktoberfestold church / Violet, TX…  St. Anthony of Padua (Robstown, TX): facebook / parishes online / school

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Familiar yet new…  Holy relics…  Pink divinity…  Prayer…  Quiet prayer time…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony
…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Michael chaplet…  Tony’s big day

2 Responses

  1. Ja das ist eine wundervolle Kirche und die wunderschönen Fenster das ist einfach eine Augenweide sehr sehr schön,füe liebe Grüsse Klaus

    Translation: Yes, this is a beautiful church; and the beautiful windows are simply a feast for the eyes. Very, very nice.

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