Fr. David Garcia is a man of many talents. Those who have the privilege of working with him know his sparkling wit, his deep sense of compassion, his love of history and his drive to do better so others may benefit from his daily work. In September, Garcia was recognized for his exemplary commitment to Catholic values and his life of public service by the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association with the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Award.
While the University of Notre Dame claims Fr. Garcia as one of “theirs” – he holds two master’s degrees one in theology and one in administration – Catholic Relief Services is also proud to claim him as one of ‘ours’ in his role as senior advisor for Clergy Outreach. For the last three years Garcia has traveled around the United States working with clergy leaders to involve them in CRS’ humanitarian, development and relief work to assist the poorest people and communities overseas. In this role, he gives lots of speeches, represents CRS at national clergy gatherings and also accompanies groups of clergy to witness the value and operation of CRS’ programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
In another important role, Garcia serves as the archdiocesan director of the Old Spanish Missions and is pastor of St. Agnes Church in San Antonio, Texas. For the last decade and a half it has been his job to oversee the restoration of several of the most iconic historical sacred buildings of San Antonio beginning with the San Fernando Cathedral, founded in 1731.
At the Notre Dame award ceremony Garcia joked that the mayor of San Antonio recently introduced him as “the foremost pickpocket in San Antonio”. It was a reference to the tremendous success Garcia has raising money to restore the missions and church building. But Garcia keeps his success in perspective.
“In our new era of making do with less, we can all learn lessons from the founders of these missions,” said Garcia. “It is a spirit in people of faith who have a vision of inspiring and developing others, of bringing them together to form something special, and of ultimately sending them out to change others and their world. We don’t need a lot of things to do this. What we need is faith and spirit,” he said.
If you know Fr. Garcia, you know preservation is not his goal. Fr. Garcia’s goal is to restore people. And that is talent worth preserving.
Hats off to “Our Father Garcia.”
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