Parishioners of the Our Lady of Consolation Church in Vattmann recently installed a 22-foot cross on its grounds in commemoration of the church’s centennial.

“For 100 years, our church has been here,” Fred Yaklin, who constructed the centenary memorial cross, said. “My grandfather laid the brick on this church, and my father helped build a lot of stuff around here.”

Constructed in 1919, the Our Lady of Consolation Church has served the Vattmann community since its previous church was destroyed in a hurricane. Yaklin, 85, said he has been attending the church all his life.

 “They keep me busy all of the time building stuff,” he said. “And I wanted to finish this (project) before I get old.”

Yaklin said the idea originated from fellow parishioner Barbara Dietz after she saw a photograph of Pope John Paul II conducting a service in front of a large cross.

“And she said, ‘I bet Fred could build one of those,’” he said.

After receiving the blessing of Rev. Varghese Ethappiri and the church’s centennial committee, Yaklin said he contacted local contractor Vern Crocker regarding material and specifications.

“He gave me the dimensions. Ralph Huff, he knew somebody in Houston who had these big timbers,” he said. “And he and his son got it moved down here. I cut it out and did all of the painting.”

With the help of Glenn Yaklin, who provided a forklift, Fred Yaklin said he was able to build and paint the cross, and the Nueces Electric Co-op assisted with the installation.

Fred Yaklin said once completed and in the ground, the cross stood at 22 feet tall.

“But you always want it to be bigger,” he said.

Rev. Ethappiri said he hopes the cross will stand alongside the church for another century.

“It gives a positive message to the people,” he said. “The cross, of course, is always a sign of sacrifice, of love, peace and joy. It’s the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical is an invitation to God and horizontal is to be loving to the people.”

A blessing for the cross was held prior to Sunday Mass on Sept. 15.

Our Lady of Consolation Church is located along Farm Road 628 south of Kingsville, about five miles east of Hwy. 77.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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