It was April 2017 and the Robo Vikes were in San Antonio for their next regional competition. The team decided to go to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for a prayer service to give thanks for a rare win at the Dallas Regional back in March and for continued success there at the Alamo Regional.
Mr. Ray Depta, head coach of the Robo Vikes, spoke with Fr. Mario Marzocchi, pastor of St. Joseph’s, who made special arrangements to open the church at 7:15 a.m. to accommodate the team. So, despite the early start after a late night prepping for the competition, the team went to church for the service. Scripture was read and Father Marzocchi gave a nice talk about St. Jose Sanchez Del Rio, a young man martyred for refusing to renounce his faith. Father pointed out how St. Jose was about the same age as many on the team and how he was impressed about how so many young people took the time to come to church. Several parents thanked Father after the service and he again expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the team‘s show of faith.
Robo Vikes in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
After they left St. Joseph’s, the team had to lug their bags and some heavy pieces of equipment for about 4 long blocks to the convention center. No one griped or complained, as they felt the service was well worth the effort. It seems that the prayers paid off as the team had another successful outing. The Robo Vikes came in as a very close finalist at the Alamo Regional and also won a prestigious award – the Engineering Excellence Award.
The team was inspired by Father Mario’s talk and reflected on what a great year that they had. It had been the best year ever for the Robo Vikes, and they realized that there must have been some help from above to accomplish so much in such a short time. They realized that perhaps Father Mario’s talk about saints was not a coincidence. The team wanted to find a way to give thanks for their year, so they decided to adopt a patron saint. They considered several saints including Saint Jose Sanchez Del Rio (the subject of Father Mario’s talk), Saint Patrick, and Saint Albert the Great. A vote was taken and the team decided on Saint Patrick, the patron saint of engineers. St. Patrick converted many people to Catholicism while in Ireland, often used shamrocks to explain the Trinity, and taught the Irish how to make arches of lime mortar instead of dry masonry. St. Patrick was known for being humble and pious, and his trust in God was so strong that he feared nothing – not even death. The trust in God reflected how the team felt during this amazing season.
Adopting St. Patrick as a patron saint was a great way for the team to incorporate faith into their program. They are also looking to take a banner of him to future competitions to lead the team into battle and to show others that the team is faith based. Here is an excerpt of St. Patrick’s poem of faith and trust in God called “The Breastplate”:
“Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”
Here is a link to more information about St. Patrick: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89
And a link to St. Patrick’s engineering background: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saint-patrick-structural-engineer-tom-van-laan/