Notre Dame Award is given to Archbishop Borys Gudziak in Ukraine

Borys Gudziak

Under Soviet influence, the Catholic Church was banned in Ukraine. Churches were dismantled, seminaries were closed, and clergy were imprisoned, deported, and killed. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Catholic Archbishop Borys Gudziak was intent to rebuild the faith and inspire the faithful in the country. Because of these efforts, in June, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., awarded Archbishop Gudziak the 12th Notre Dame Award.

The award is one of the president’s initiatives and is given to “men and women whose life and deeds have shown exemplary dedication to the ideals for which the University stands: faith, inquiry, education, justice, public service, peace, and care for the most vulnerable.”

Intent to rebuild the faith and inspire the faithful in the country.

As communism began to loosen its grip on Ukraine, Archbishop Gudziak bravely documented the underground Church that had remained vibrant though hidden in the shadow of the Soviet Union, and his work made public the stories of the martyrs and the faithful. He also helped found what is now the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), a pillar for truth, justice, and anticorruption in a skeptical and frightened nation.

While presenting the award, Father Jenkins said of Archbishop Gudziak, now the Archbishop-Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, “In the face of innumerable challenges, in a society traumatized by war, genocide and political oppression, he and his colleagues have made the Ukrainian Catholic University a center for cultural thought, Christian witness and the education of a generation who can bring healing and hope to Ukraine.”

On the UCU campus he also established the Emmaus Center, a place where people with developmental disabilities can live in community with students, largely inspired by L’Arche.

Notre Dame and the Ukrainian Catholic University also signed a memorandum of understanding to create deeper collaborations and exchanges between the two institutions.

Previous recipients of the Notre Dame Award include Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, and most recently, the Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz, the mothers of the missing in Mexico.