The Pastoral Work Community at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) organized on Sunday, October 7, 2018, a group hiking trip to Chouwan, Keserwan, as a way to encourage members to discover and enjoy new places in Mount Lebanon.
Located within a 16-kilometer drive from the coastal highway, the tiny village of Chouwan is nestled between the Byblos District and the Keserwan District, and sits at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level. Home to about 100 families, Chouwan is fast becoming a local and international tourist attraction due to its stunning lake fed by the Ibrahim River, which is a part of Jabal Moussa UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (JMBR).
The members gathered at 8 a.m. in the free parking area at the main campus where they ate a quick breakfast before departing. They arrived at 9:15 a.m. in Chouwan and headed straight for the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance where they observed Holy Mass celebrated by University Chaplain Fr. Antonio el-Feghali and concelebrated by University Chaplain General Fr. Albert Assaf and University Chaplain Fr. Jean Pierre Eid. In in sermon, Fr. El-Feghali stressed on the role of each person to work on becoming a better steward of the environment and protector of nature.
Following Mass, the members took a coffee break and then embarked on trekking the famed trail that led to an opening, offering a fantastic panoramic view of the Chouwan Lake. The group continued to the lake where they took pictures and spent an enjoyable 30 minutes relaxing near its banks.
At 1 p.m., they returned to the church and split into two groups for lunch; each group going into separate restaurants. After lunch, the hike continued along the riverbanks that led to a different trail strewn with old and long-abandoned buildings and mills. The group left Chouwan at 5 p.m., and on the way back, Campus Ministry members bought ice-cream for everyone on the way back to campus.
Through their contact with nature, the Pastoral Community members were able to contemplate, praise the Lord, rejoice in Holy Mass, and profess their Christian love for one another.