The School of Ministry presented its Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium Distinguished Alumni Awards to three deserving alumni at the school's annual Landregan Lecture on Dec. 1. Deacon Eduardo and Olga Garcia (pictured center and right), Catholic Biblical School graduates from Fort Worth, Texas, were honored with the Dei Verbum Award, and Denise Giegerich Phillips of Flower Mound, Texas, was given the Lumen Gentium Award, an honor bestowed upon an alumnus of the School of Ministry graduate program.
"With these annual awards, we acknowledge three graduates whose established records of outstanding accomplishment reflect the fruit of theological education for transformative service," said Interim Dean Mark Goodwin. "All have given exemplary service to their local church in general, the work of faith formation in particular and the larger community, especially the poor and in-need."
Deacon Eduardo and Olga Garcia graduated from the School of Ministry Catholic Biblical School in 2010 as part of the first Spanish-language class. Members of Fort Worth's All Saints Catholic Church until 1994, the couple is now active at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington, Texas, where Eduardo serves as a permanent deacon. Since 1995, the Garcias have organized two retreats per year for couples who want to con-validate their marriage in the church.
Deacon Garcia also provides communion services at correctional institutions, has assisted AIDS victims at John Peter Smith Hospital and serves as a pastoral counselor within the parish, celebrating baptisms, weddings, quinceañeras and funerals. Mrs. Garcia served on the Permanent Deacon Formation Board from 2000-2008. Together, the couple serves their parish as Eucharistic ministers, catechists, presenters and small group leaders.
Denise Giegerich Phillips earned a master of religious education degree in 1990 as a member of the inaugural class of the Institute of Religious and Pastoral Studies (now the School of Ministry). A long time Dallas resident, she graduated from Bishop Dunne High School before attending the University of Texas at Dallas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in literary studies. She has served as catechist within the Catholic Diocese of Dallas since 1981 and as director of campus ministry at the University of Dallas since 1997. She is also currently the university's acting dean of student life.
Phillips earned a professional certification from the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA) in 2004, and is part of that organization's Speaker Committee. Last June, she was awarded CCMA's John Henry Cardinal Newman Legacy Society Award. During her tenure as director of campus ministry, she collaborated with the School of Ministry to establish the Campus Ministry Graduate Assistant Mentoring Program.
Awards were presented at the 14th Annual University of Dallas Landregan Lecture, which honors Steven T. Landregan, archivist, author and former editor of The Texas Catholic. This year's lecture was delivered by Rev. James Martin, S.J. A Jesuit priest, journalist, New York Times bestselling author and culture editor of America magazine, he spoke about joy and humor in spiritual life, which is the topic of his newest book, "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life."