2019 Great Immigrants Recipient

Gustavo García-Siller
Archbishop of San Antonio
Born in:

Gustavo García-Siller was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the oldest of 15 children. Growing up in a devout family, he first thought about becoming a priest at the age of six after taking communion. Entering a high school run by the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit at 16, García-Siller was ordained as a priest in 1984 in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the United States García-Siller has served migrant and local communities in Oregon (Portland) and California (Long Beach and Los Angeles). He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago in 2003, five years after becoming a U.S. citizen. Since 2010 he has served as archbishop of San Antonio. As one of the nation’s highest-ranking Hispanic bishops, García-Siller cosigned a 2011 letter of support for undocumented immigrants written by 33 Hispanic and Latino Catholic bishops calling for comprehensive immigration reform. With a record-breaking number of families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, García-Siller is helping lead the local Catholic community’s efforts to support the new arrivals. As García-Siller told KERA, “We will not stop helping them, and to do that is just and what is right.” Making good on his 2018 pledge to “increase accountability and transparency in how [the Catholic] Church addresses the scourge of sexual abuse of minors,” García-Siller released a report naming priests within the Archdiocese of San Antonio against whom there were credible allegations of abuse, some dating back decades. García-Siller serves on several committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Cultural Diversity Committee on Hispanic Affairs and the Committee on Migration. As García-Siller wrote in Vision, “When I think about my life as a priest and a bishop  — and it’s been a really happy life — I always go back to a phrase of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit: Belonging all to God, and belonging to all people.”