The conferral of the honoris causa by the only Pontifical University in the United States was proposed several years ago and was decided following Pope Francis' meeting with the Neocatechumenal Way on March 6th.
During that meeting, in which 250 families were sent in mission, the Holy Father defined the itinerary of Christian formation as "a true gift of Providence to the Church of our time."
Argüello and Hernandez introduced the Neocatechumenal Way in the United States in 1974, following an invitation by the then head of liturgy of the diocese of Brooklyn, Msgr. James Donegan. Following an invitation to speak on sacred music, the late Cardinal Terence Cooke welcomed the initiators, allowing them to visit the parishes in New York.
Currently, the Neocatechumenal Way is present in 82 dioceses and 350 parishes with about 1000 communities throughout the United States. About 1.5 million faithful follow the itinerary of Christian formation throughout the world.
This is the third honoris causadegree conferred upon Argüello who received an honorary doctorate from the John Paul II Institute of Rome in 2009 and an honorary doctorate in Theology from the University of Lublin (Poland) in 2013.
The conferral of the honorary degree from CUA on Carmen Hernandez as well, according to a communique released by the Neocatechumenal Way, "underlines her fundamental contribution to the formation of the theological-catechetical synthesis of the Way."
"Without her existential and profound knowledge of Scripture, of the renewal of the Second Vatican Council and of the history of the Church, it would not have been possible to create this itinerary of Christian initiation," the press release stated. (J.A.E.)