A Spiritual Oasis on the Riverwalk
Originally Published on OBLATEMISSIONS.ORG
St. Mary’s Church in San Antonio, Texas has been served by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate since 1885. The church has been a spiritual oasis in the heart of downtown San Antonio for generations. Situated adjacent to the famous River Walk, St. Mary’s attracts thousands of tourists each year, many of whom return again and again to this beautiful sanctuary of peace.
Acknowledging the need for Catholic education in San Antonio, the Oblates in 1910 built St. Mary’s School. It was originally intended as a grade school but was later expanded to accommodate a high school staffed by the Sisters of Divine Providence. It was the first free parochial school in Texas.
The original St. Mary’s church building was destroyed in a flood in 1921. It was rebuilt on a much larger scale – to accommodate one thousand worshipers – and reopened in 1924.
The church’s interior is breathtaking, with Italian marble and onyx floors, solid wood pews and stained glass windows. Adding to the ambiance are Carrera marble statues, a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, sculpted Stations of the Cross and an impressive lifelike Pieta.
The Oblates celebrate daily Mass at noon to meet the needs of downtown workers. There are four Masses each Sunday, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available every day. A healing service is celebrated every Thursday and Eucharistic Adoration on Fridays. The parish is also well-known for its special Friday evening healing services, and a vibrant charismatic prayer meeting every week.
Because it is an Oblate parish, St. Mary’s is dedicated to helping people in need. The parish supports Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM), an organization that provides food, clothing and financial aid to homeless and indigent people. They also serve the San Antonio Metropolitan Ministry (SAMM), which shelters and feeds the homeless every night. St. Mary’s provides volunteers as well as other support to these programs. Special collections of money, food and clothing are taken up regularly. Many homeless men and women are fed daily by St. Mary’s staff.
St. Mary’s offers a dynamic CCD program, a Confirmation preparation program and a Young Adults Group that meets monthly. These programs help the youth to grow in their faith and commitment to the Church.
St. Mary’s contributes to the festive spirit of downtown San Antonio. The parish supports the annual Fiesta and other River Walk activities. They provide River Parade seating and a “Food Fest” in the church parking lot for the Christmas River Lighting in November and for the Fiesta River Parade in April.
St. Mary’s Pastor, Fr. John Gordon, O.M.I. and Parochial Vicar, Fr. Ed Hauf, O.M.I. are proud of their visible presence in downtown San Antonio and invite all to experience spiritual healing and hope with their community.