To mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the University of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., led a prayer service for peace on Thursday (Feb. 23) at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
“We pray for the people of Ukraine … We pray for world leaders … We pray for the world that, in this moment of crisis, we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need,” Father Jenkins prayed to begin the service.
Yevdokiia Yevdokimova, a student from Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) who is studying at Notre Dame this semester, followed by reading from chapter 41 in the Book of Isaiah, verses 1 and 4 to 13.
Father Jenkins then offered reflections on the war and God’s providence, focusing on verse 10:
“Do not fear: for I am with you;
do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
“The words ‘Do not fear: for I am with you; do not be anxious, I am your God,’ mean as much today as they meant when they were written, nearly three millennia ago,” Father Jenkins said. “These are words of truth, hope, consolation.
“Today, these verses are being read in Ukrainian bomb shelters, in hospitals caring for the wounded, at funerals, at the front line, in the lecture halls of our sister institution, the Ukrainian Catholic University.”
He continued: “Let us at Notre Dame continue to stand in solidarity with all peace-loving people in praying for an end to this unjust war.
“Let us pray that peace, freedom and dignity will be enjoyed again by our sisters and brothers in Ukraine, and by all people.”
Yana Muliarska, another Ukrainian Catholic University student, offered intercessions.
After praying the Lord’s Prayer, Father Jenkins closed the service: “O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Grant peace and protection to the people of Ukraine. Give them strength and courage to defend what is good, right and holy. Keep them safe from harm and provide for all their needs, both material and spiritual.”
Prior to the prayer service, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies hosted a commemoration of the first anniversary of the war. Held in the Jenkins Nanovic Halls Forum, the gathering drew over 100 attendees to listen to emotional reflections on the war’s impact from UCU students, student leaders of the Ukrainian Society of Notre Dame and Nanovic Institute Director Clemens Sedmak. Attendees also had a chance to view a student research exhibition on “Ukrainian Art as Protest and Resilience.”
After the commemoration, attendees joined a candlelight procession to the Grotto for the prayer service.
Originally published by news.nd.edu on February 24, 2023.at