“We are living in a time of great dangers and great opportunities for man and the world; a time which is also of great responsibility for us all,” said Mgr. Ivan Santus, Deputy Head of Mission of the Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon, to the graduating class of 2018.
Mgr. Santus was the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Service of Haigazian University, which took place on Sunday, the 20th of May 2018, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church, next to University campus, in the presence of a capacity audience of graduates, along with their families and friends.
In his keynote address entitled “M’Illumino d’Immenso” i.e. I am enlightened with Immense, Mgr. Santus used this metaphor as an allegory of “the awareness of the existence of the Eternal that surrounds and overwhelms us”.
He focused on the concept of “love” saying, “it must be seen in our capacity to forgive. It must be seen in our sensitivity to the needs of others. It must be seen in our willingness to share. It must be seen in our commitment to our neighbors.”
Santus concluded his address, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, “God takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great, but brings everything to perfection for His glory and for the happiness of men and women, and for the salvation of the world.”
President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian addressed the graduates, putting particular emphasis on the notion of “gratitude”, namely for all the gifts and opportunities God has bestowed in life.
In this respect, Haidostian underlined the importance of three expressions, often used in very common ways, but not taken in depth most of the times; “knowledge”, “willingness” and “thankfulness”. Tackling those concepts, Haidostian concluded his message saying, “I pray that your thankfulness will mean a life-giving inner feeling that will pave for your future success, a life in which your I Know should translate to knowledgeable action, and your I Will should translate to unwavering commitment to the values of life, faith and work.”
Many graduating students brought their participation in this solemn ceremony of dedication and thanksgiving; Rasha Saad, Nadine Al Manasfi, Daniella Daou and Isabelle Baghikian read passages from the Old and New Testament. Shant Akoushian and Nora Kalanjian reflected on their University years. Spiritual Life students Nathalie Boukheir, Palig Berejiklian and Georgio Lteif graciously sang “God Will Make a Way”. Talented musicians, Vahan Saghdejian and Nare Achkarian played instrumental music by Yanni, while Hrag Bardizbanian performed a piece by Francisco Tarrega.
Students May Breik and Kevork Pontigian led the graduates to read their pledge which states: “We, the class of 2018 of Haigazian University, in receiving this light, pledge to hold high the light of truth, to defend the light of freedom, and to spread the light of service to our communities, our country and our world. With truth, freedom and service illuminating our hearts, we will challenge each other, and our world, to uphold the worth of each human being, and we will strive for the betterment of society, knowing that this is pleasing to God.”
Several pastors brought their share in this thanksgiving service. Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical First Church, Rev. Hrayr Cholakian offered the call to worship, Haigazian University Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane offered the prayer of dedication, while Rev. Paul Haidostian concluded the service by offering his benediction.
Finally, the graduating class of 2018 marched out of the sanctuary, each carrying the light of truth, freedom and service to the world.
The event concluded over a decent reception.