MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican has conferred the Holy See Award with the Order of Pius IX, Class of Dame to Philippine Ambassador Mercedes Tuason last May 23.
The Holy Chief of Protocol, Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu, assisted by Monsignor Guillermo Javier Karcher, 1st Class Attaché of the Secretariat of State, presented the award to Ambassador Tuason during the awarding ceremonies held at the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
In his remarks, Monsignor Nwachukwu said that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has decided to give the award to Tuason for her "significant contributions in the advancement of bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Philippines". The award is signed by His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See.
Tuason was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General Danilo Ibayan, Executive Assistant and Confidential Secretary to the Ambassador Josephine Bantug, and Father Jess Dajac, Filipino Roman Catholic priest of the Congregazione Clericale Missionariedella Fede.
The Order of Pius IX, also known as the Pian Order, is a Papal order of knighthood founded on 17 June 1847 by Pope Pius IX.
Although the Pontifical Orders of Knighthood of the Holy See were originally founded and available for giving honors to gentlemen only, the Holy See Secretariat of State in November 1993 issued instructions that the Pontifical Orders of Pius IX, Saint Gregory the Great, and of Pope Saint Sylvester were also open for awarding to ladies.
Living recipients of the higher ranks of the Order of Pius IX include H.E. Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic, H.M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.