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Archbishop Borys (Gudziak) became first Ukrainian to get Notre Dame University Award

29.06.2019, 15:05
On June 29, the President of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was conferred on the Notre Dame Award.

On June 29, the President of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was conferred on the Notre Dame Award.

The Notre Dame Award is conferred on “men and women whose lives and actions are evidence of devotion to the ideals that the University serves: faith, knowledge, education, justice, public service, care for those in need.” Archbishop Borys became the first Ukrainian to receive this honorary award. Previously, it was received by US President Jimmy Carter and his wife; St Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Northern Ireland politician John Hume; Cardinal Vinko Puljić, Archbishop of Sarajevo; Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche community, Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz, a community of Mexican mothers who organized the search for missing relatives and friends as a result of criminal violence and omission of the state.

“Ukrainian Catholic University received the award of the University of Notre Dame. I received it with deep emotion on behalf of many of my spiritual teachers — founders of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Metropolitan Andrey and Patriarch Iosyp, Cardinal Lubachivsky, Patriarch Lubomyr, my predecessor — Fr. Mykhailo Dymyd, my colleagues, the senators and students. I am receiving it with a feeling of great gratitude — to God, to all those thanks to whom this could happen, and to the University of Notre Dame,” said Archbishop Borys.

According to the President of the University of Notre Dame, John Jenkins, “Archbishop Borys made the Ukrainian Catholic University a center of cultural thought, Christian witness, as well as a platform for the formation of Ukrainian society on the foundation of human dignity. At the same time, he resolutely and faithfully provided pastoral care for the faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. We will be honored to celebrate his unselfish and faithful service.”

Archbishop Borys is highly respected internationally for his courageous leadership of the first Catholic University in the former Soviet Union.

Influenced by Henry Nowen and his devotion to people with special needs, Archbishop Gudziak set up the Center Emmaus in the UCU, where people with mental disabilities and their families receive support and can be a part of the students' community life.

In 2014, during the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv after riot police had applied brutal violence against peaceful pro-democracy activists on the Maidan (this eventually led to the murder of more than a hundred people, among whom was a twenty-five-year-old UCU lecturer, Bohdan Solchanyk), Archbishop Gudziak and other religious leaders of all faiths, supported the protesters and their demands to transform Ukraine. Even after these events, Borys Gudziak, commented on the situation: “I was part of Pope Francis' school of thinking, which argues that “the shepherd must smell like his sheep”. Therefore, at a time when the solution to the situation seemed impossible, I was among the people on the Maidan, I prayed with them and asked God to help us find a solution.” For the last 15 years, a fruitful academic collaboration has been developed between the UCU and the Notre Dame - more than 20 UCU scholars and employees were trained and successfully completed the program course on professional development at Notre Dame. Last year, Professor James McAdams, Director of the Institute of European Studies, University of Notre Dame was awarded the honorary title of “Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ukrainian Catholic University”.

For many years the professor has been cooperating and actively supporting the UCU. Professor McAdams was the initiator of the project CUP (Catholic Universities Partnership) – a consortium of several Catholic universities, which became a platform for communication and cooperation of Catholic universities in Central and Eastern Europe. UCU is part of this consortium. The project annually organizes meetings in one of the Catholic universities which are part of this consortium.

In addition, representatives of the UCU repeatedly delivered public lectures at Notre Dame, in particular, including such lecturers as Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Myroslav Marynovych. From year to year, students and graduates of the Notre Dame also become volunteers at the UCU English Summer School.

Backround information: Borys Gudziak grew up in Syracuse, New York in a family of Ukrainian immigrants who, during World War II were forced to flee from the Communist regime. He received a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and biology from the University of Syracuse. He later studied at the Collegium of Hagia Sophia in Rome, as well as at the Pontifical University Urbaniana, where he received a degree in theology, and thereafter a doctorate in Slavic and Byzantine Cultural and Church history at Harvard.

In 1992, Borys Gudziak returned to the home of his parents in Lviv, where he founded the Institute of Church History. Six years later, he was ordained a priest and was appointed first Vice-rector and later Rector of the Lviv Theological Academy, which in 2002 became the Ukrainian Catholic University. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Borys Gudziak as Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Catholics in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. He is the author of more than 50 academic works on the history of the Church and theology, and last year received the honorary title of Doctor of Humanities (Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa) of Syracuse University.

In February of this year, Pope Francis appointed Borys Gudziak to the post of Archbishop of Philadelphia. This Metropolis, in addition to Philadelphia, also includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, as well as other areas in Eastern Pennsylvania. The official enthronement took place on June 4, 2019. Borys Gudziak also remains President of the UCU and a member of the permanent Synod of the UGCC.