On 26 June, the Ukrainian Catholic University held its graduation ceremonies. This year the university sent out into the world 255 bachelors and 187 masters from the Health Sciences Faculty, the Applied Sciences Faculty, the Social Sciences Faculty, the Humanities Faculty, the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, and also the UCU Lviv Business School.
The ceremonies began with Divine Liturgy in the University Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, led by the President of UCU, Metropolitan Archbishop of the UGCC in the USA Borys Gudziak, and concelebrated by UCU Rector Fr. Bohdan Prach and other clergy. The Liturgy and ceremonies were broadcast on the UCU YouTube channel.
Diplomas were awarded in a tent in front of the University Church of the Holy Wisdom of God.
This year’s keynote speaker was Canadian diplomat and Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Larisa Galadza:“Whenever you have the opportunity to build or create something, a soccer team, a business process, an IT company, a parish, a clinic, a youth group (anything), think – How would UCU do this? When you are tired, and no one says a word of gratitude, and everything seems in vain, think about the founders of UCU: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in interwar, divided Lviv; Patriarch Josyf Slipyj after 18 years in Stalin’s camps and Rome in the 1960s; young Harvard graduate Dr. Borys Gudziak in post-Soviet Ukraine; and ask yourself: ‘Where did they find the strength and inspiration?’ When you are disillusioned because it is difficult to act according to your principles and values, ask: ‘How would UCU overcome my difficulties?’ And when you become wealthy, think: ‘How can you share your abundance with UCU?’”
UCU President Metropolitan Borys Gudziak greeted the UCU graduates and their parents, who blessed their children with studies at a Catholic university. “We pray for your further life. You leave these walls with the anthem of our university, ‘The Holy Martyrs.’ It will not be easy in the world, but may our martyrs be an example to you in this pilgrimage. To be a Christian and a leader in today’s world is more and more difficult. The challenges are maximal. Now we struggle for top scores in standardized tests, later for a bigger bank account, a better house, car. And often in this struggle we forget that there are unfortunate, marginalized people in the world. If you love those who love you, that’s ok. But Jesus teaches you to love your enemies and forgive them. And you and I cannot do this without the activity of the Holy Spirit. Love your enemies and you will change the world!” So said the metropolitan to the graduates.
Addressing the graduates, Father-Rector Bohdan Prach stated: “Dear graduates, all these years we tried to serve you, to give you our best: time, our knowledge, our spirit. But this is not the end of our journey with you. The world expects you to be creative and, above all, responsible. Being an UCU graduate is a responsibility. I call you to do good, serve others, those who are in need, to be courageous, defend truth. In a world of populism, where many words have no meaning, where we rush for sensations, we demand from you calm, courage, and truth. Unite in new communities. May God bless you!”
Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary Fr. Dr. Ihor Boyko called the graduates to serve others: “Follow Jesus Christ, Who first gave us an example, serving others. The Lord created us to love and to create love everywhere that He calls us to live and serve. Bring into the world love and service.”
Also on this day, Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi, civic activists, friends and benefactors from the whole world addressed the graduates with words of greeting.
According to a long tradition of leading universities, student representatives spoke:
– 2021 salutatorian Pavlo Bryliak, graduate of the Information Technologies and Business Analytics Program, and 2021 valedictorian Oleksandr Rizenko, graduate of the Personnel Management and Organizational Development Program.
During the event, rector’s awards were presented for fruitful scholarly work. Four UCU professors received awards. Professor Yurii Yasinovskyi of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy received the rector’s award in memory of Prof. Ihor Skochylias of blessed memory.
Then the awardees for Teacher of the Year were announced.
The final symbolic gestures of the graduates at the ceremony were singing the hymn “Gaudeamus” and tossing up their caps.