Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee

Sharing Christ with Her Motherly Love


As the director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, Lourdes Garza has helped grow the Catholic Hispanic community in East Tennessee. And to the community of thousands she serves, she is more than a “director”; she is known as a loving mother.

Since 2005, Lourdes has given her heart and soul to help build a thriving and loving Catholic core in the center of the third-fastest growing Hispanic population in America. From coordinating field Masses for farm workers to writing and distributing a monthly newsletter—La Cosecha (The Harvest)—throughout the diocese, she has become a force of faith, organizing and mobilizing people into action. When invasive surgery and aggressive chemotherapy threatened to slow (or even stop) her service to the faith, Lourdes kept going. She simply found new ways to inspire the more than 63,000 Hispanic members of her Catholic community and tapped into the leaders she spent years cultivating.

“Everything Lourdes does is a reflection of the truth that every person needs God, and without Him we remain without hope,” said USMC Lt. Col. (Ret.) Paul D. Simoneau. “So in everything Lourdes does, she gives more than material things or comfort or help, she gives God.”