|Birth: ||Feb. 13, 1935|
|Death: ||Sep. 30, 2011|
Former Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Miami, Monsignor Gilberto Fernández was born on February 13, 1935, in Havana, Cuba, to a family of eight children, five boys and three girls, that gave four priests and one religious to the Church. Two older brothers, Msgr. Orlando Fernandez, now deceased, and Father Nelson Fernandez, now retired, also served as priests in the Archdiocese. Another brother, Fausto Fernandez, was administrator of Marian Towers, a facility for low-income seniors run by Catholic Health Services.
One sister, Sister Lilia Fernandez, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine who ministers at Mercy Hospital. Another sister, Teresita Fernandez, settled in the Miami area and another brother moved to Mexico with his wife and children. A third sister, Ondina, also lived in Miami and died a couple of weeks before her brother.
Bishop Fernandez was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 1959, for his native Archdiocese of Havana. He served in four parishes there, including as administrator of the cathedral, before being forced into exile in Miami in July 1967.
Among his assignments in South Florida, he ministered to migrant farmworkers in Naranja, Homestead and Delray Beach. He served as pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Homestead (1978 - 1979); pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, Miami (1979 to 1988); administrator of San Pablo, Marathon (1988 - 1989); pastor of St. Kevin, Miami (1989 - 1996); and spiritual director at St. John Vianney College Seminary the year prior to his appointment as Bishop.
Pope John Paul II named Father Gilberto, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Miami on June 23, 1997, receiving his episcopal consecration with the Titular See of Hirina on the following September 3, together with Monsignor Thomas Gerard Wenski, from Archbishop John Clement Favalora, assisted by Archbishop Edward Anthony McCarthy and Bishop Agustín Alejo Román Rodríguez.
Monsignor Fernández retired due to illness less than five years after being consecrated to the episcopate, in December 2002, asking the people of South Florida "to help me with your prayers, and I will help you also with mine". He passed away on Friday, September 30, 2011, after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease.
Bishop Fernández's body was received at St. John Vianney Seminary, 2900 S.W. 87 Ave., Miami, for viewing on Sunday, October 2, at 6 pm. The next day, he was transferred to the St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 N.W. Second Ave., where funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday, October 3, at 11 am.
Bishop Gilberto was buried in the priests' section of Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Miami.
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery
Plot: Clergy Section.
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Oct 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 77413556