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Student/Alumni Profiles

Therese Bjornaas

MA in Practical Theology and Ministry, May 2013
Doctoral Student, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA

Therese Bjornaas came to Barry University from Norway with the express purpose of studying theology. In fall of 2009, she enrolled as an undergraduate exchange student in a Speaking English as a Second Language program and completed 30 credit hours of undergraduate theology in Barry’s Department of Theology and Philosophy.

Therese returned to Norway and completed her bachelor’s degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2010.  Soon after, she was accepted into the MA in Practical Theology and Ministry program at Barry University. During her studies, Therese was involved ministerially with the civic organization Save Dade.  Therese developed key skills for pastoral care while working with Interfaith – OUT, a GLBT community drawn from diverse religious traditions; the group is sponsored by Save Dade.

Therese was recently accepted to the doctoral program at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Her future goal is to return to Norway as a theology professor.

Carlos Cueto

MBA, MAPTM, Class of 2013
Senior Financial Analyst with FedEx Express
Active Prison Minister and Missionary in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Cuba

Over the past four decades, Carlos Cueto has honed both his business and ministerial skills. He is a bilingual professional with over 40 years of experience in diverse fields of management and consulting within both the private and non-profit sectors. He is currently serving as Senior Financial Analyst with FedEx Express. His professional accomplishments have been many, including recently spearheading an increase in FedEx financial results by over $1 million per year as well as helping sales teams overachieve aggressive goals by 46%.

His ministerial outreach has been just as intense as his business career. His many activities include 36 years of mission outreach in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Cuba; 36 years service on the Board of Directors of Amor en Acción Catholic Lay Missionary Group, the official missionary outreach arm of the Archdiocese of Miami, with 7 years as its mission director; and 25 years service with RESCATE Catholic Prison Ministry, with 8 years in a leadership capacity with that Ministry.

Believing that “much of the future of the church lies in the hands of the laity,” Cueto early on engaged in Hispanic ministry studies through the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI), an educational branch of the Southeast Regional Office for Hispanic Affairs, Region V and XIV of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which offers a master’s program in collaboration with Barry University. While he did not receive a degree at that time, these studies helped inform his ministry over the years.

Recently, while assisting his priest during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Cueto was inspired by a call that “originated from the depths of my soul.”  He felt certain that he was called to obtain a Doctorate in Theology, a degree that he felt would enable him to better preach the gospel within his current life situation.

Toward that end, Cueto obtained the Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry (MAPTM) from Barry University. He found that the MAPTM really broadened his ministerial outlook enabling him to engage people where and as they are, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually; he was better able to help others in their faith journey, in both his mission outreach and in conversations with colleagues at work. While pursuing the MPPTM, he became convinced that the appropriate degree for his ministerial focus would be a degree that integrates quality academics with practical application. As a result, he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry from Barry.

Cueto is married and has four children. An active Catholic in the Archdiocese of Miami, he has written numerous theological reflections and essays on issues dealing with ecclesiology and evangelization, Hispanic spirituality, immigration, and ethical approaches to criminal justice as well as on pastoral ministry among immigrants and the incarcerated.

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