His Eminence Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle (center) during the luncheon at Bent Hall in St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y. on May 20, 2018. From left, Edel Alama, Dr. John and Nelia Ferrette, Eleanor de Leon, Cardinal Tagle, Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Dr. Linda Pelayo, Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D. and Roger Alama.  (All photos courtesy of Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr.)

Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

In a picture-perfect setting with the temperature hovering around 80 degrees, His Eminence Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle (Archbishop of Manila) delivered the commencement address at St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y. on May 20, 2018.

He addressed the Queens Undergraduate Commencement Exercises at the Great Lawn of the university’s Queens campus.

Cardinal Tagle also received a conferral of the degree of doctor of humane letters.

Welcoming him was the President of St. John’s University Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., a Filipino-American, who is a graduate of Ateneo de Davao University, West Virginia University and Penn State University.

The two-hour event culminated in a luncheon reception at Bent Hall where Cardinal Tagle and Dr. Gempesaw greeted members of the school’s administration, as well as friends of the President from the Filipino-American community.

Graduates urged to find and serve “the missing” in society

His Eminence Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle, D.D., S.Th.D, Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila, delivered a powerful Commencement Address at the Queens undergraduate ceremony, stressing to graduates to “meet the needs of humanity.”

The Cardinal also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University.

Cardinal Tagle spoke to graduates about the needs of “the missing persons” — those often lost and marginalized in our interdependent, complex, and global society.

“Of the many needs of humanity today that, you, fresh graduates will have to face, I believe that exclusion, alienation, and the disappearance of persons need your urgent attention.”

Cardinal Tagle asked graduates to remember those who have been kidnapped, murdered, and lost during war.

The Cardinal emphasized that people are also lost to human trafficking, online exploitation, poverty, injustice, neglect, marginalization, racism, and similar phenomena.

“We have to confront the many causes of the disappearance of human persons in our consciousness. The human family needs to be saved from exclusion and disconnectedness.”   

He observed, “The poor disappear as human beings in an unjust economic system. We need an examination of consciousness, and a renewal of mentalities and attitudes that will promote communion, which will open eyes and hearts to the humanity of other people. We also need social structures that will allow room for the values of communion and solidarity to flourish.”

Cardinal Tagle told the Class of 2018 they will miss the University.

“But remember, the world you walk in has many missing persons. Encounter them, build bridges, touch their hands, listen to their stories, have communion with them.”


With Cardinal Tagle are his brother Manny (far left), owner and manager of a Filipino restaurant bistro in Ballston, Arlington, Virginia; and Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr.

Dr. Bobby Gempesaw

Amongst the President’s impeccable credentials, which include degrees in economics and agricultural economics, he is a member of the St. John’s University Board of Trustees and Board of Governors.

Furthermore, his expertise is in higher education administration, financial simulation analysis, marketing and international trade.

His wife is Clavel Albay Gempesaw, who graduated from the University of Delaware.

They have two children.

About St. John’s University

Founded by the Vincentian Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church in 1870, the university has New York campuses in Queens (main), Staten Island and Manhattan; and overseas in Rome, Italy.

St. John’s is a four-year doctoral/research university and is balanced between arts and sciences and the professional fields.

(Source: St. John’s University website; and Wikipedia.)


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