Finding Grace and Joy South Texas 

Vattman, TX

By Fr. Andy Sensenig, OMI

As I write these words, we are experiencing a drought in Texas, especially in the area of South Texas, where I serve.

There are two parishes and two missions: Our Lady of Consolation in Vattmann; Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Sarita; Sacred Heart Mission in Ricardo; and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Riviera. These parishes and missions are located south of Corpus Christi and close to our Oblate La Parra Center located in Sarita, TX 

But leave it to the stoutheartedness of the good people of South Texas to keep moving forward drought or not, and even pandemic or not.

Our DRE, Ms. Debbie Unterbrink, came up with a great theme for our gathering of Youth called “Faith Roundup,” during Catholic Youth Week. This four-day event had children from all our ministerial sites participate in crafts, catechetical classes, and games.

One of the favorite events of the kids who came was hitting yours truly with water balloons. If you worry about division among young people, I would have to say “Fear not.” You cannot believe the union among the children when they heard me say, “Nah! Nah! Nana nah! You can’t hit me!!” The gleam in their eyes showed their resolution to make sure their parish priest got pelted by water balloons. 

Fr. Sensenig about to get drenched by the young participants of the “Faith Roundup”

Yet, another one of the activities showed how the children came together when they all made cards to be sent to one of their younger parishioners, who is being treated at MD Anderson in Houston.

The generosity of these young people reflected the generosity of the adult and teen volunteers, who helped in teaching, accompanying and assisting everyone to make this “Faith Roundup” the best possible.

It was truly a delightful collaborative moment for our parochial communities.

But that’s not all. 

Fr. Sensenig (Back, center) poses for a group shot with the participants of the Women’s Day Retreat

Next week, we had our first Women’s Day Retreat at the La Parra Assembly Hall on the campus of the Incarnate Word Sisters’ grounds located next to the Oblate La Parra Center. Sr. Clare Underbrink IWBS and Sr. Rosa Ortiz IWBS gave a wonderful presentation for the day entitled “All is Grace.” (See accompanying article: “All is Grace: Finding the Holy in Daily Life” by Sr. Rosa Ortiz IWBS.)

It was a welcome event of reflection and prayer, where women from all our parishes and missions could just spend some quality time with other women of faith.

For some this was the first time to attend this kind of event and Srs. Clare and Rosa did an excellent job to encourage the women participants to get to know each other from the different parishes and missions here.

Once again, collaboration was key to make this event happen, and I am grateful to Jim Chambers OMI and the Oblates at Oblate La Parra Center to allow the women retreatants to have Mass at the Sacred Heart Chapel and quiet time for reflection at the Chapel of the Little Children both located on the campus of the Oblate La Parra Center.

Both were blessed events and when things seem dry and worn out, there is always a deluge of Grace and Joy to be had among the Good People and the Oblates.

Or as I have found out, “Life’s good in South Texas.”