“Guard your heart, for it is the most precious and authentic possession of a human being” said Sister Dr. Yara Matta, Director of the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences at the St. Joseph University of Beirut, to the graduating class of 2023, at the Baccalaureate Service ceremony which took place at the First Armenian Evangelical Church, on Sunday the 4th of June 2023.
In her keynote address entitled “The Springs of Life”, Sister Matta focused on the concept of how to “guard the heart”, putting strategic approaches to achieve that mission in life.
Considering the heart as “the most precious and authentic possession of a human being,” Matta recommended the graduates to be more vigilant and mindful in their behavior, to react to the first signs of negativity and rebound with the vitality of youth, to never stand alone and rely on true friends who are considered as steadfast pillars of support, and finally to stay true and faithful to their values.
“Life encompasses more than eating, drinking and working. It is the ability to act, to connect, to embrace new experiences and to have a lasting impact. If you aspire to make a difference, guard your heart, guard its boundaries, hold on to your true friends and cling to your cherished values. By doing so, the springs of life will flow forth in abundance,” Matta concluded.
For his part, President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian addressed the graduates, emphasizing on the notions of “gratitude” and “thanksgiving”.
“Dedication means knowing your strength and gift and committing to bringing it to use in the best way for your inner circle us and wider community,” said Haidostian.
Talking further on the meaning and virtue of having a “thankful heart”, Haidostian said, “the core of our gratitude is to God the Loving Almighty who is the secret behind any and every depth, meaning and value that we may have.”
This solemn ceremony of dedication and thanksgiving started with a Call to Worship offered by Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane, with many graduating students bringing their participation in the program: Heba Shaweesh, Garo Kalfayan and Amal El Najjar read passages from the Old and New Testament; Joyce El Hayek reflected on her University years; talented musicians,Henry Ishkhanian and Hasmig Aintablian played an Armenian instrumental music entitled “Miyayn Kezi Nayim”, while Arman Der Bedrossian and Yasmina Srour played a song entitled “Amazing Grace”.
Students Hussein Mroueh and Aline Khederian read the pledge of the graduates which states: “We, the class of 2023 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.”
The thanksgiving ceremony concluded with a prayer of benediction, after which the graduating class of 2023 marched out of the sanctuary, each carrying the light of truth, freedom and service to the world, and paused for the traditional group photo with President Haidostian.
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