Robbins new priest at St. Andrew
On June 29, parishioners of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and the Sacred Heart of Campbellton held a celebration to welcome Father Ian Robbins and say goodbye to Father Prasanna Mese. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Robbins serves as Mese, who has been reassigned to St. Paul’s Catholic Church in San Antonio.
Prior to St. Andrew, Father Robbins was the parish vicar of St. Monica at Converse. He has lived in San Antonio since June 1998 and became a Catholic at age 13.
âI served as an altar for my very first mass. It was a wedding mass of all things, and I finished Mass, âsaid Father Robbins. “I didn’t spoil too much and this elderly lady came to see me after mass, a caring soul.”
Although he cannot remember her name, the woman had an impact on Robbins. She told the youngster that he would make a high priest. He was a seventh grade student and also an only child. When he found out that priests couldn’t have families, he first thought, no, he couldn’t be a priest. However, it was something he discerned from time to time in high school.
âI had a date in high school. I went to college and got involved with a great group of Catholic young adults who really encouraged me to discern a vocation with the priesthood, âsaid Father Robbins. âThey were on fire for their faith and they also saw how many times I was in church. I practically lived in the building. I was liturgical coordinator. So I helped make the masses go well, things like that.
It was during his college years at Texas State University at San Marcos, Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish. Robbins graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Public Relations in the fall of 2013. He thought of another diocese for a while, until the director of vocations told Robbins he was doing it. should consider returning to the archdiocese.
âI made an appointment with the director of vocations at the time, Father Alex Pereida. He was in Somerset for a few years and I met him for breakfast, âsaid Father Robbins. âThe first time he meets me, he pulls out this big envelope and puts it in front of me and he says, ‘Oh yes, this is the request for the seminary.’ So it was a little intimidating at first, but it was probably about a year later that I decided I was going to apply and really give it a try.
Father Robbins entered seminary in January 2014 and was first ordained a deacon on November 16, 2019. He was ordained a priest on March 28, 2020, during the pandemic. He recalled how the seminary closed about a week and a half before his ordination. The Archbishop called everyone for a meeting to let them know they would be ordained the following week.
âSo I had 10 people at my ordination, it was in San Fernando. It is the smallest ordination I have ever attended in my life.
He served at St. Monica for 13 months, then learned that he would take over the administration of St. Andrew.
âBeing with people in their happiest and most difficult times is incredibly rewarding for me. I get so much love from God when I can go to the hospital, visit and anoint the sick and be with the families whose loved ones are nearing the end of their lives, âsaid Father Robbins. âIt is very gratifying for me to sit in the confessional and hear the struggles of the people and their difficulties, and to be able to offer the grace of God, to help them find a little light, to find a little peace in their life, and above all, it gives me so much joy to offer the Eucharist so that they celebrate Mass, to offer them a word which, I hope, was inspired by the Holy Spirit, in the homily that they can take with them and apply in their lives.
When he preaches, he offers a little of his own life. It includes examples of times that have occurred and how they relate to the gospel.
What does it find difficult to be a priest?
âOverall, I think one of the biggest challenges is that we live in a world that tends to work assuming God is there, but I don’t really need to play with him because he’s up there and I’m here, “said Father Robbins. “There is not a lot of natural fear of the Lord in the sense of not being afraid of God, but rather respecting that God is there and that He really wants to be a part of our lives.”
This is something he observed many times in college. It is during those years when many have a constant desire to be gratified all the time.
âThere is the realization that you cannot be, because you are going through suffering. We are going through difficult times, âsaid Father Robbins. âWe make tough decisions that have tough consequences, and that’s where the Lord wants to walk with us. He wants to walk with us in these beautiful times. He wants to walk with us in these difficult times, those times when we have to make difficult decisions, but also in the times of joy of just rejoicing in what he has given us.
Father Robbins would like the various family programs and activities in St. Andrew to continue.
âI was deeply touched by Father Mese’s desire to be closer to families. I know his two purposes were to bring families back to church and encourage them to open the scriptures. And I resonate with both a lot, âsaid Father Robbins. âI want to see the two continue. I also want to see an immense love for the Eucharist and the community. As Catholics you know, we believe that the source and the summit of everything we do is Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist. So with me you will see a lot of deep devotion to the Eucharist. It’s something that has inspired me since I was a Catholic.
Her firm belief in community events that bring people together is tied to her graduation from Smithson Valley High School. As a photographer for the high school yearbook staff, he loved to stand on the sidelines and take pictures of the football team and capture other special moments.
âIt was so much fun, but it really inspired me to want to bring people together. So with me you’ll probably see a continuation of that, reaching out to families, reaching out to people who might not meet us here for some reason other than coming to church.
In his spare time, Father Robbins enjoys watching trains. It’s a hobby he has had since he was 3 years old.
âWhen I was very young my uncle put me in his truck, and when we lived in Dayton at the time, he drove me to the rail yard which was in Lorain, Ohio, just south of Dayton. . It was a big yard, âsaid Father Robbins. âWe were watching those big blue engines go by and they are so fascinating to me. So every now and then you may surprise me. If you see a train go by, everyone is frustrated and I’m like, âOh, what is this? “
You will also find examples of Father Robbins meeting people where they are, outside of the church.
âIf you see me in H-EB, stop me and say hello. I asked a few people to do it and it’s really refreshing for me.
He looks forward to attending Eagle football games and other events. He adds that others will see him move with the Holy Spirit. Wherever the Holy Spirit guides him, wherever the Archbishop asks him to go, that is where he will be.