The Cathedral building has the added distinction of being the oldest standing church building in Texas, and for all of its more than 281 years, has been serving the people of the Archdiocese and San Antonio. For almost 95 years, San Fernando served as the church for all of the religious denominations of San Antonio as the Catholic Church was the only recognized religion of the Spanish and Mexican governments prior to Texas' independence. San Fernando has become more than the geographic center; it has become an ecumenical, cultural, civic, and service center of San Antonio. San Fernando serves as a refuge for many of the poor in this area who come for help and trust their needs will be met. As the first church in the city, San Fernando has a rich history of responding to the people's needs in and around the church.