Bishop Hernandez studied humanities in the seminaries of the Province of St Nicholas in Lodosa (1953-56) and Fuenterrabia (1956-60). He made his novitiate in Moneagudo where he professed his vows on the 2nd of September of 1961. He was ordained to the priesthood in Marcilla on the 18th of July of 1965. Bishop Arturo Quintanilla was the ordaining prelate. He continued his studies in Rome receiving a licentiate in moral theology from the Alfonsianum (1967) and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas (1968).
From 1968 to 1973, he taught moral theology in Marcilla and, in 1973, volunteered to work in the Province of St. Rita. He began his ministry in Franca on the 27 of December 1973 where, for 12 years, he combined teaching philosophy with pastoral and administrative tasks. From 1979 to 1985, he served as pastor of the parish of the convent. He strove to decentralize activities such as promoting the construction of rural chapels and catechetical instruction. From 1976 to 1987, he was also provincial councilor and president of the Secretariat of Formation.
After a few months of theological up-dating in Madrid, he returned to Brazil in February of 1986. During five subsequent years, he was pastor of the parish of St. Rita in Manaus. From 1987 to 1989, he was the coordinator of the archdiocesan pastoral program and, until 1991, he was episcopal vicar for religious. He also taught philosophy and Spanish in the seminary of the Archdiocese.
On March 6 of 1991, he was named bishop of Tianguá, a diocese of but 20 years of existence located in the north east of Brazil. He received the episcopal ordination on May 19, 1991 at the hands of Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider in Manuaus. He entered his new diocese on the 24th of June of the same year. His first major concern was the establishment of a seminary which was realized in 1993.
Bishop Fernandez has served in various offices in the Episcopal Conference of the Northeast of Brazil, including, Youth Apostolate (1992-1998), Nations Council of the Laity (1992-2005), Area of biblical catechesis (1998-2005) and the Mission Dimension. He has also been the prelate vice president of the Northeast Region.
In the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), he has served as a member of the Directory Council of MEB (Movement for Education of the Base) (1998-2001). He contributed as responsible bishop for the Area of biblical catechesis (1998-2003) and as a member of the Episcopal Commission for Amazonia (2003-2007).
The diocese of Tianguá was erected by authority of the papal bull, “Qui Sumopere” , of Pope Paul VI issued on the 13th of March of 1971. Its territory was taken from the diocese of Sobral, and was canonically established on the 22nd of August of 1971. It is part of the metropolitan see of the Archdiocese of Fortaleza. It pertains to the Northeast Region of the CNBB and its patron is St. Ann. The diocese of Tianguá is situated in the North Region of the state of Ceará, Brazil. It occupies a territory of 9 670 7 square kilometers with an estimated population of 450, 000. Tianguá, the Episcopal see, is located in the Serra da Ibiapaba, 850 meters above sea level and 315 kilometers from Fortaleza, capital of the State.
The diocese of Tanguá is composed of two very distinct geographical characteristics. There is a low level which in its extreme point is 243 kilometers distant from Tianguá and an elevated area called Serra Grande which is 1050 meters above sea level.