"Católica has given me moments that I will treasure for the rest of my life": one of the many comments made by some of the more than 550 students who received their 22/23 graduation diplomas from the Portuguese Catholic University (UCP) in Porto. Happiness, fulfillment and the spirit of mission accomplished filled the Ilídio Pinho Auditorium during the Blessing and Diploma Award Ceremony, an especially memorable moment for the hundreds of recent graduates, their families and teachers.
"I congratulate you. You have arrived at your port very well," said Isabel Capeloa Gil, UCP's rector. "I hope you continue to move forward and thus create new worlds," she added. The UCP rector also recalled some of the messages left by Pope Francis during his visit to UCP as part of World Youth Day 2023, and challenged the new graduates to responsibility and courage: "Responsibility implies the courage to transform and means being present where change is happening."
The ceremony, which took place on November 8 and began with the traditional academic anthem, was marked by inspiring speeches and messages and by the presence of the directors and professors of all the faculties: Católica Porto Business School, School of the Arts, School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Law of the Porto School, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Health Sciences and Nursing - Porto.
Bishop Manuel Linda of the Diocese of Porto also congratulated all the graduates, saying: "I share in your joy and trust that each of you will be an active part of the transformation of the world." For Bishop Manuel Linda, the diploma has "a strongly social dimension, because it puts you at the service of humanity."
The ceremony also saw the presentation of merit awards from the faculties and partner institutions: the Caixa Geral de Depósitos Awards (School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Institute of Health Sciences - Porto, Porto School of the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Theology), the D. Júlio Tavares Rebimbas Scholarship, the Amélia de Mello Foundation Award, the S. Francisco de Assis Award and the Comendador Arménio Miranda Award. The Francisco Carvalho Guerra Merit Award and the School of Biotechnology Merit Award were also presented.
The D. Júlio Tavares Rebimbas Scholarship was awarded to student Carolina Rodrigues Ferreira, for the merit of the work she intends to do at the Brotherhood of the Clerics as part of her Master's Degree in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, which began in the 22/23 academic year.
On their way to new places, the more than 550 graduates of the 22/23 academic year didn't hide their desire and enthusiasm to continue their journey and take on other challenges. They are certain that "the diploma is not just the diploma", they said, but "it is the culmination of a stage where the Catholic University in Porto has been a home for us". The students who completed their degree at the Catholic University in Porto have now become alumni of the University.