December 22, 2018 – The Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) family came together to celebrate the annual Christmas Mass, noontime, at the Issam Fares Hall on the Main Campus. President of NDU, Fr. Pierre Najem, along with Fr. Samir Ghsoub, VP for administration, Fr. Boutros Bou Nassif, VP for finance, Fr. Albert Assaf, University Chaplain General, Fr. Jean Pierre Eid, University Chaplain, and Fr. Antonio Feghali, University Chaplain celebrated the Mass. During Mass, the Pastoral Community Choir sang hymns in praise of the Lord.
President Fr. Pierre Najem delivered the Gospel reading of Luke 2:1-20:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
He then gave the Christmas Homily, which reflected on the work God wrought through his Word in Christ, the sacrifices He made by becoming Jesus and coming into the world with the humblest beginnings, and how this reflects God’s unfailing, inexhaustible love.
This year was particularly special, as NDU is celebrating finally procuring accreditation by the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as NEASC. The gathering after Mass was a chance to celebrate and thank the internal community for their essential contributions in achieving this goal, which has been ten years in the making.
A short video was played, and President Fr. Najem gave a speech, reflecting on the road to accreditation, the powerful impressions left on accrediting bodies by NDU’s community spirit, and the long road still ahead. Fr. Najem wished everyone a restful Christmas holiday, but stressed how essential it is to remember that, while accreditation is a big step to achieving recognition on the world stage, NDU’s presence must be maintained and pushed further through a continuing focus on the excellent standards that have gotten us this far.
The service concluded with a cocktail reception at the Dorms’ Cafeteria, to celebrate, and to thank all those who worked tirelessly to help NDU reach this milestone.