The "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross,” a papal honor awarded by Pope Francis, was conferred to Mercy College's Decker.
President Decker is among five other local recipients who have developed specific professional skills which they generously use in the life of the Catholic Church. The translation of “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross” is “For the Church and the Pontiff, the Pope.”
On Nov. 26, Bishop Richard Pates presented six local Catholics with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontiface Cross, one of the highest honors given by Pope Francis to the laity. Those honored with this papal award are: Dr. Jerry Deegan of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines; Frank Hardy of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines; Nancy Galeazzi of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines; Dr. Barbara Decker of St. Ambrose Cathedral Parish in Des Moines; Bruce Baker of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines; and Steve Chapman of Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines.
One of seven children and the daughter of a Mexican-American farm laborer, Dr. Barbara Quijano Decker, has served as president of Mercy College of Health Sciences since April 2006. Dr. Decker has led Mercy College to ever higher standards for professional health practitioners. She has also renewed Catholic identity through institutional evolution and the hiring of faculty to implement this vision. In particular, the health professional is prepared to treat the entire person, body, mind and soul, with Christian mercy and love.