Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak on 13 May spoke to the graduates at Ave Maria School of Law, a private Catholic institution in the state of Florida, founded in 1999 and focusing on forming lawyers with a Catholic worldview. During the commencement ceremonies, Archbishop Gudziak also received an honorary doctorate in law from the Ave Maria School of Law.
Archbishop Gudziak receives an honorary doctorate in law from the Ave Maria School of Law
In his commencement address, Archbishop Gudziak spoke of the history of the establishment of Ukrainian Catholic University and described its founder, Patriarch Josyf Slipyj. In particular, he explained the context of Slipyj’s motto “Dream big.”
“Just think. His words were written in 1957. The patriarch had been imprisoned already for 13 years. His Church had been dismantled, his leadership impeded, his flock persecuted and dispersed… Hope was nowhere to be seen. But this 65-year-old enfeebled and exhausted Church leader spoke of greatness and dreams from the wasteland of a Siberian prison camp,” said the archbishop.
“Dream big! Do not be afraid of greatness! Our greatness manifests itself in our selfless service. In following Jesus and Mary,” he emphasized.
Archbishop Gudziak shared with these future American Catholic lawyers stories of their Ukrainian colleagues, students and graduates of the School of Law of Ukrainian Catholic University who face the serious challenge of war and are now forced in different, extreme conditions to understand the significance of their service to society. “… law can be a tool for achieving selfless goals. By obtaining a law degree you have an opportunity to serve people here in our country and in different parts of the world. A good Catholic lawyer knows Who is worth serving, and what is worth living and even dying for.”
He called the graduates to look attentively at what is happening in Ukraine, where, at the cost of great sacrifice, the principles of freedom, dignity, and self-sacrifice are again being shown to the world, and he encouraged them to work in church structures and for the good of the Church.
“Our American society needs legal experts who understand the deep philosophical underpinnings of all that is good in the American experiment, and all that needs improvement. The unborn, the poor, the discriminated, the marginalized so await your service, your advocacy, their justice that you defend,” said the president of UCU.
Photos: Press service of the Ave Maria School of Law.