The Atascosa County community is mourning the loss of Monsignor John A. Wagner, who passed away on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The beloved priest was born on May 27, 1925.
Many have expressed their condolences on social media, remembering Msgr. Wagner for his kindness, compassion and community involvement.
A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Pleasanton on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to honor Msgr. John A. Wagner and Msgr. Alois Goertz. The service will begin at 7 p.m.
They both served at St. Andrew and the surrounding area, and both passed away during the month of January 2019.
Msgr. Wagner served as pastor at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Pleasanton from Oct. 1, 1985 to May 31, 1992 and its mission church at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Campbellton. He was later named pastor at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Charlotte from June 1994 until 2000. Msgr. Goertz served in Pleasanton from Sept. of 1958 to May 1962.
“Father Wagner was my introduction to the Catholic faith back in the early 1980’s. His love and con- cern for the salvation of others guided much of his life, as was evident when he interacted with you,” said Ginger Martinez. “He taught by example. Father Wagner had a very real way of making you feel welcomed to openly discuss any of life’s situations and how it related to our faith.
“He always had a listening heart and met you where you were in your spiritual journey, speaking in a way you could easily understand the message. Although he was busy with community and national activities, when he spoke with you, you felt as though you were the most important person to him at that moment. He encouraged people to serve God through service to their country and fellow man and was the voice for the migrant workers in their plight for justice. I credit Father Wagner with my salvation which in turn led to the salvation of my children and grandchildren. He was truly an instrument for the people and will be greatly missed by the many lives he touched.”
Betty Castro said “My heart is broken to hear of Father John’s passing. He was our friend. He married my kids, baptized my grandkids, celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary vows, and was there for us anytime we needed him. We last saw him in November, talked to him two weeks ago. This week I called on Monday and on Friday and left message. He was the most loving caring person you could have as a friend. We loved him very much and will miss him terribly. Rest In Peace.”
During his 70 years in the priesthood, Father Wagner was assigned as executive secretary for the U.S. Bishops Committee for the Spanish Speaking, worked with Senator Ted Kennedy on establishing the Peace Corps and with Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement, was named Honorary Lifetime Chaplain for the Atascosa County Law Enforcement Officers Association, was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus, and was often seen supporting community events.
Memorial Masses were held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Poth and at St. Matthew in San Antonio.
In lieu of flowers, it is asked that donations be made to a charity of your choice or to Padua Place, 80 Peter Baque Rd, San Antonio, Texas, 78209.