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​Father Carlos Velazquez welcomed as new rector of San Fernando Cathedral

July 12, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Father Carlos Velazquez welcomed as new rector of San Fernando Cathedral

Father Carlos Velazquez has been appointed to serve as the new rector of San Fernando Cathedral by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS.

Father Carlos Velazquez was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick Flores on June 8, 1990, at Sacred Heart Church in San Antonio. Father Carlos has served in a variety of ministries in the archdiocese through the years. He was initially assigned as parochial vicar to the Catholic communities of Gonzales and Waelder and then at St. Mary Magdalen Church in San Antonio. He served as associate director and later director of the archdiocesan Office of Vocations from 1992 to 2000. He then served as pastor of St. John Berchmans Church in San Antonio and Church of the Holy Spirit in San Antonio. Most recently he was pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Canyon Lake and Sts. Peter and Paul Church in New Braunfels.

Welcoming Father Velazquez at a June 15 press conference held in the cathedral, Archbishop Gustavo said, “The position of rector of San Fernando Cathedral requires an uncommon combination of pastoral and leadership skills; someone who has great respect for San Fernando Cathedral, its people and its history. It is vital that he understands this city and the role San Fernando Cathedral will continue to play for years to come. This priest has distinguished himself by exhibiting great faith, imagination, and energetic leadership.”

Father Velazquez shared that he was honored and humbled to be of service to San Fernando Cathedral. “Having grown up only a few miles from the cathedral, I know how spiritually important this Mother Church is for all San Antonians and beyond -- Catholic and non-Catholic,” he said. “I have many fond memories of coming to San Fernando with my grandparents and parents as a child. I am ready to create many more.”

Father Velazquez succeeds Father Victor Valdez, who served as rector of the cathedral for five years. During that time, Father Valdez provided distinguished leadership and helped to further San Fernando’s historical, cultural and spiritual legacy.He most importantly oversaw a continuation of ministry at this historic cathedral during an unprecedented pandemic. There were ordinations, Holy Week liturgies, and regularly televised Masses, which were a lifeline to the community during the COVID-19 lockdown. He was also very supportive of the annual reenactment of the Passion of the Christ, which is an icon of San Antonio’s Holy Week observances. He helped lead a special broadcast version of the event as the city still dealt with crowd limitation restrictions earlier this spring.

Father Valdez has begun a new assignment as pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in a rapidly growing area of the west side of San Antonio.

Pointing to the unique role San Fernando Cathedral and its people have played in the history and growth of San Antonio, Archbishop Gustavo saluted Father Valdez for the leadership and service he has provided to the Catholic Church and the whole community. The archbishop told the priest, “On behalf of the people of the archdiocese, I offer my heartfelt thanks for all that Father Valdez has done and will continue to do for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.”

San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States. The cathedral remains a vibrant urban parish, with the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass broadcast internationally by satellite, and countless other services and special events each year, most notably the staging of the Good Friday Passion Reenactment.

Father Velazquez was born Chicago, but grew up in San Antonio. He attended Our Lady of Sorrows School, St. Mary’s School, and St. Anthony Seminary High School.

He later attended the College of Santa Fe and resided at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in New Mexico. Father Carlos earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and then began graduate work at Oblate School of Theology while residing at Assumption Seminary. He earned his Master of Divinity Degree in 1990.

In addition to his ministerial assignments, Father Velazquez has served as a member of the National Forum on the Catechumenate, the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, and on the Board of Directors of San Antonio Metropolitan Ministries.

Additionally, he is a member of the National Pastoral Musicians, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Union of Texas (KJT), and the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. His hobbies are reading and traveling.

Father Velazquez officially took his new position as rector of the cathedral on July 1.