Building off of last year’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eparchy of Sarba, Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) Law student, Ray Robert El Khoury, and prospective NDUer, Mary Elias Akiki, were this year’s recipients of the Annual Jocelyne Khoueiry Award, granted by His Eminence Auxiliary Bishop Boulos Rouhana and organized by the Women’s Pastoral Committee. The Award’s namesake, the late Dr. Jocelyne Khoueiry, left a legacy of proactivity in both the life of the Church and community, the Award launched in her honor for the youth to carry on her work.
Providentially falling on Saint Pope John Paul II’s feast day, on October 21, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, Abbot Semaan Abou Abdou, accompanied the students to the Eparchy and was the concelebrant of the Divine Liturgy presided over by the Auxiliary Bishop. Following the Holy Mass was the award ceremony itself, wherein Ray and Mary received their respective scholarships for their studies. Ray, as the first-place recipient, was granted a full scholarship, while Mary, in second place, received a 50% scholarship, valid for both students for their remaining years at NDU.
As the ceremony was in tandem with his feast, it is appropriate to call to mind John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, an address to Catholic universities worldwide and the source of NDU’s motto, Gaudium de Veritate, or Joy of Truth. Given that the Jocelyne Khoueiry Award is largely oriented towards the unity and solidarity between men and women in their work towards the common good and glorification of God, the late Pope likewise exhorts each Catholic institution of higher education to “[serve] at one and the same time both the dignity of man and the good of the Church” (par. 4). His Holiness continues: “[A]ssisting men and women in their continuing quest for the truth, [the Catholic university’s] research provides an effective witness, especially necessary today, to the Church's belief in the intrinsic value of knowledge and research” (par. 15).
As such, NDU is proud to have Ray and Maria as holders of this Award, exemplifying the Gaudium de Veritate and promoting NDU as a research institution dedicated to its mission of scholarly excellence. Congratulations to both of you. There is no doubt that you will achieve greatness and success.