Catholic Education Symposium – Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, S.T.D.
Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, S.T.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio
Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, S.T.D. was born December 5, 1966, in Houston, Texas, the son of Ramiro and Maria de Jesus Cantú, natives of small towns near Monterrey, Mexico. He is the fifth of eight children, five boys and three girls. Bishop Cantú is a product of Houston’s Catholic schools, attending Holy Name Catholic School and St. Thomas High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas.
He then received his Master in Divinity and Master in Theological Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He continued at the Pontifical Gregorian University, located in Rome, where he earned his licentiate degree in Dogmatic Theology, and where he recently completed his work for a doctorate in Dogmatic Theology. Bishop Cantú was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Houston on May 21, 1994.
He has spent his priestly career working in parishes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. His first assignment following his ordination was as parochial vicar at St. Christopher Parish in Houston. Since 2003, he has taught at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He also has taught at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology located at St. Mary’s Seminary. Bishop Cantú is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and French.
His last assignment was as Pastor at Houston’s Holy Name Parish, his childhood parish where, in the early 60’s, his parents became close friends with a young priest, Father Patrick Flores, who went on to become the Archbishop of San Antonio.
Cantú’s father immigrated to the United States as a young man. He worked in Chicago where he learned to be a machinist. Tired of the cold weather and the long distance from his native country, he moved his wife and two children to Houston. While Mr. Cantú only received a sixth grade education, his life of hard work taught him to place a high value on education. Seven of his eight children attended Catholic schools in Houston at a great financial sacrifice for the family; four of them went on to college, and three of them have attained their master degrees.
While still a seminarian, Bishop Cantu worked on a committee consisting of diocesan leaders and chaired by Laredo’s Bishop James Tamayo. Its purpose was to develop, promulgate, and promote a plan for Hispanic ministry.
Since his priestly ordination, Bishop Cantú has participated in number of ministries and movements in Houston. He was involved in the Movimiento Familiar Cristiano (MFC), a national network of parish/neighborhood small groups of Catholics and their families who come together to reinforce their Christian values. He conducted three retreats per year with the youth of the MFC in the Galveston‐Houston Archdiocese. Bishop Cantu also worked with those preparing for marriage through the Engaged Encounter ministry.
From 2004 to 2007, Bishop Cantú co‐hosted an interfaith radio show in Houston called “Show of Faith.” His co‐hosts included a Jewish rabbi and a Protestant minister. The program discussed issues from the perspective of their individual faith traditions.
Bishop Cantú has also been involved in The Metropolitan Organization (TMO). Its mission is to publicly address important social issues in the community such as fair housing, immigration, education and many others.
Bishop Cantú was appointed Titular Bishop of Dardano and Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio on April 10, 2008. He was ordained, Monday, June 2, 2008 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in San Antonio, TX by The Most Reverend José H. Gomez, S.T.D., Archbishop of San Antonio. On May 26, 2010, Bishop Cantú was appointed Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of San Antonio, serving in that position through October 14, 2010.