Recently, I was commenting on one or another of the six Catholic colleges in Texas. I endeavored to touch very briefly on each one of them. While there are only six Catholic colleges in the entire state, three of them are located in San Antonio. How did this come about? Shouldn’t they have been scattered across the state more effectively?
This reality was generated by historical factors. For the last half of the 19th century San Antonio was the city that had the highest number of Catholics within its boundaries. The Germans, the Belgians, the Irish were there in goodly numbers and, of course, there was a very large Hispanic population. In the last half of the 19th century, priests and religious had come from France, Ireland, Belgium and Germany to help establish and strengthen the Church and many of them ended up in San Antonio. For this reason three colleges were established there, namely, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake and the University of the Incarnate Word. In addition, of course, there are three other educational institutions functioning at the college and university level. They include Assumption Seminary, sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Oblate School of Theology, sponsored by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and finally, the Mexican American Catholic College. That is a lot of schools!
Another interesting aspect about the city of San Antonio and the archdiocese thereof is that in many ways it could be considered as the Hispanic Catholic capital of the United States. There are far more Hispanics in Los Angeles than there are in San Antonio but they do not have the impact on the larger community that those living in San Antonio do. If all of this was not enough, throw in the history. San Antonio began in 1718 and the Church has been there every single day for the last 294 years and so has generated great gifts in theology, literature, art and beauty for which we should all be grateful.
May God continue to bless the Archdiocese of San Antonio.