Students gather for the U.S. collegiate student solidarity vigil for Ukraine
Angela Mathew | Friday, April 8, 2022
The chapel of Stanford Hall was rich with the smell of incense and was adorned with icons Thursday night. The Ukrainian Society at Notre Dame hosted a Moleben, or prayer service, for peace in Ukraine and the protection and victory of the Ukrainian people in the war.
The service was a part of the nationwide U.S. Collegiate Student Solidarity Vigil for Ukraine, an effort by more than twenty schools to honor the lives lost in the war. Father Andrij M. Hlabse, priest of the Ukrainian-Greco Catholic Church and doctoral student on campus was the presider.
Junior Christian McKernan, treasurer of the Ukrainian Society at Notre Dame, emphasized that the gathering was a part of a larger movement.
“Our vigil today represents more than just a small gathering of those of us here at Notre Dame. We have come here tonight as part of a wider movement at colleges across our country organized by the Ukrainian Students Union of America,” he said.
The Ukrainian Students Union of America, a group of Ukrainian students and their allies united by their shared passion for justice for Ukraine, arose over the past six weeks.
“A few of the Ukrainian clubs on different campuses reached out to other Ukrainian clubs and started a group chat on Instagram,” she said. “Someone suggested that we do something together nationally, to bring more attention to the issue but also to have more unity among all the different clubs.”
Matuszak said other schools, including Purdue University, Harvard University and Stanford University, all planned to hold solidarity vigils on the same day.
During the sermon at the prayer service, Hlabse entreated listeners to “live within the truth.”
“We should speak the truth about the nature of the conflict and its unprovoked origins,” he said.
Hlabse talked about a report he recently saw from the City Council of the town Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. He explained that Mariupol has been devoted with loss lately due to its location on the land bridge between Russian territory and Crimea.
He also spoke about how it is important to recognize how vicious the Russian ideology.
“The Russian motive wants to negate not only the existence of Ukraine as a political entity and state, but there are newspaper stories and ideologues who even publish and talk about the negation of the existence of Ukrainians,” he explained.
Hlabse encouraged students to pray and donate in the drives organized by the Ukrainian Society. He also encouraged students to listen to the experiences of their peers in Ukrainian universities and console them over the Internet.
Hlabse highlighted the Zoom event that the Ukrainian Society held this past Friday, hosting students from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv.
Following the prayer service in the Stanford Chapel, students formed a procession to the Grotto. When the procession arrived, the congregation lit candles, spent time in personal prayer and sang the hymn “Prayer for Ukraine.”