Catholic Charities of San Antonio (CCSA) President/CEO, J. Antonio Fernandez has been recognized twice by the great city of San Antonio for his leadership and work serving all people with love, respect, and dignity.
Fernandez continues to elevate the position of Catholic Charities as the premier social services agency in the city for those seeking assistance. CCSA’s mission is to provide for the needs of our community through selfless service under the sign of love. The agency has over 40 programs serving all people, from conception to natural death, regardless of race, religion, or country of origin. This alone has set Catholic Charities apart from other agencies largely due to the vision and leadership of Fernandez. “When we see a need, we don’t ask questions,” he said. “We just help in any way we can. We are dynamic enough to respond.”
News Radio WOAI recently recognized Fernandez in the San Antonian of the Year 2018 as one of “Two Who Made a Difference.” Families separated at the border catapulted CCSA to the forefront locally and nationally. People from around the country looked to the leadership of CCSA to provide humanitarian aid and to help reunite families with love and dignity. Thousands of donations from around the city and the country arrived and hundreds of volunteers served with CCSA. According to WOAI, “[Antonio] has taken politics out of a political situation. And at a time when immigration has become a polarizing issue, he’s humanized undocumented migrants….He took on the cause of helping his fellow man with love and respect, always asking what else could be done.”
In the same week, the San Antonio Express-News recognized Antonio in the Power Broker series acknowledging the position of CCSA in San Antonio serving over 254,000 people last year for everything from providing basic needs and pregnant and parenting services to legal and refugee resettlement to self-sufficiency programs and senior services. Antonio’s passion is leading the agency in feeding the hungry, whether it is at the Guadalupe Community Center or in the community through the Mobile Relief Unit, a crisis response vehicle with a full kitchen. Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller MSpS recruited Fernandez after five years together in Chicago. “The way he approached offering services is what touched me,” García-Siller said. “What he has done quickly and well is connect with people and connect people to services. This is his gift.”
Fernandez is on the rise in the San Antonio community and across the nation. If there is one thing that is certain to all CCSA Board members, staff, and volunteers, it is that wherever you see need, you will see Antonio serving all people right alongside them. And, most importantly, he will be serving all with love in his heart and a smile on his face.