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Cardinal Tagle gets Catholic Theological Union honorary doctorate

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Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV, president of Catholic Theological Union is flanked by Teresita “Teri” L. Nuval (left), director of the Office for Asian Catholics of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. CTU PHOTO

CHICAGO — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle along with Teresita Nuval, the director of Asian Services for the Archdiocese of Chicago, were conferred honorary doctorate degrees by the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) May 14 during the school’s 47th commencement ceremony at the K.A.M Isaiah Congregation Center in this city.

The cardinal addressed the 75 graduates of the Roman Catholic school of theology and ministry, telling them that “they did not just earn a degree, but also received a mission.”

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Tagle said he has “seen many worlds.” He lamented that he has seen dehumanizing poverty, havoc left by corruption and injustice, trafficking of women and children as slaves and horrible typhoons in the Philippines and Asia.

However, he said that these were offset by the good he has seen, such as the mysterious hope and joy of those who have lost everything, the profound faith of those who suffer and the undying love of family.

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‘Theology happens’

“As I enter these worlds, theology happens, theology beckons.” He explained that theology helps the missionary church “discern God’s presence.”

Cardinal Tagle holds a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University in Washington. He was a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission from 1997 until 2002 and has served since 2003 in the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Office of Theological Concerns.

The archbishop currently leads 2.8 million parishioners in the Manila Archdiocese. Cardinal Tagle is an advocate of social causes such as helping the poor and the needy. Last April, he was elected as president of Caritas International.

He is the president of the Catholic Bible Federation last October. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 as the 32nd archbishop of Manila and installed as a Cardinal in 2012 to succeed Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. In 2001 Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Imus, Cavite.

Giving Hope

Teresita Nuval was recognized for her work in the Asian ministry of the Diocese of Chicago for the past 25 years. As the director of Asian Catholics, she oversees the ministries of the Filipino, Japanese and Burmese communities. She coordinates community development, pastoral counseling and crisis intervention for the Asian Missions and Centers including apostolates of other Asian American communities.

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She previously worked as a nurse educator, teaching psychiatric nursing to nurse graduates from foreign countries.

“It gave me the best initial preparation to minister to immigrants in America,” Nuval said.

She pointed out that she was expected to be ready with answers to any and all problems posed to her and her coworkers. She said, “I felt obligated to bring these skills into the ministry until a priest admonished me, telling her: ‘no matter how much we plan, God is the ultimate decision-maker and He has the final say.’”

She added, “We must humble ourselves, to be able to discern and to reflect on what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us. We may not always be able to accomplish all that we plan to do because of the realities that confront us.”

Through the many stories, concerns and problems that needed to be addressed she said that her task, the ministry’s task is to determine “how do we welcome them, how do we give them hope?”

Encounter with refugees

She cited an encounter with a newly arrived group of refugees. She said that communication was difficult because they needed translators. She noticed a few of them huddled together, speaking in low tones, looking at her from the corners of their eyes.

She asked the translator what they said and he told her that they were begging her not to abandon them. Thus, she was able to work with refugees, giving them hope.

She claimed that one thing that has characterized her years of ministry is change. “Narratives have changed from the melting pot theory to the salad bowl theory. The community of faith is more diverse. Immigration trends and the Internet Age add to this complexity,” Nuval said.

Each year, Nuval collects and compiles a calendar list of the Simbang Gabi masses to be held at the parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago for the Filipino American community.

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TAGS: Asian Services for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Catholic Theological Union (CTU), honorary degrees, K.A.M Isaiah Congregation Center, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Teresita Nuval
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