Culture Section, COCC.- The Culture Commission of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba decided at its first national meeting in 2019 to award the Distinction “Monsignor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes” to S.E.R. Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, Archbishop Emeritus of Havana. The prize was instituted by the Commission to recognize Catholic personalities and institutions who, inspired by the Christian faith, are in a notorious work of evangelizing culture.
The official award ceremony took place in a simple private ceremony, which took place on the afternoon of June 12, 2019 at the Cultural Center “Padre Félix Varela”, with the presence of the Cuban Episcopate.
The words of praise were uttered by Dr. Gustavo Andújar, close collaborator of the honoree, and the evening had a special moment of spirituality and culture when playing Fr. Jorge Catasús the theme “Incarnate Word” of his authorship.
The act culminated in a prayer to Our Lady of Charity, Mother of Cubans and the blessing extended by Monsignor Ortega to those present.
Career of Cardinal Ortega
The pastoral work carried out in his native diocese of Matanzas, as parish priest and professor of the Seminary San Carlos y San Ambrosio earned him a prestige within the Cuban Church that determined his appointment as Bishop of Pinar del Río in 1978, and later his promotion to the Archdiocese of Havana in 1981.
His priestly commitment prompted him to work new avenues for social media, materializing the creation of magazines such as Word New in 1992; Lay Space; Love and Life. From his experience of faith, he tended bridges to the world of culture, creating in 2011 the Cultural Center “Father Felix Varela”, a center from which he radiates Christian sensitivity in training and promotion projects for the cultivation of the human person.
His episcopal motto “My grace is sufficient for you” (2C,12,9) could sum up the humility with which this servant of God has undertaken his ministry which, as Pope Francis emphasized in his missive for The Fifty Years of Father James’s Priestly Life, he has stood out for the nodded pastoral activity, concern for the social question and the high spirituality that exalted him to the college of Cardinals for the creation of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1994.
Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino has received – among countless awards – Honorary Doctorates from various American universities; he has held important responsibilities at the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, the Latin American Episcopal Council and as Counsellor of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
As President of the Episcopal Commission for Culture of the COCC, the Distinction for Culture was established which – by its recommendation – was named in memory of the pastor of the people of God, Msgr. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Last year, presiding over the Commission Msgr. Juan Gabriel Díaz Ruiz Bishop of Ciego de Avila, he received the award in the Chair of Cultural Studies and Vivarium magazine, a project that he successfully successful in the Archdiocese of Havana under the pastoral action of Cardinal Jaime Ortega; to whom the Distinction was offered on this occasion.