Father Jenkins leads prayer service for peace in Ukraine

Author: Dennis Brown

Ukraine Prayer Service 2

Ukraine Prayer Service 1
Yana Muliarska, a student from Ukrainian Catholic University

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.

Feb. 24 marks one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The resulting war has claimed more than 300,000 lives to date, displaced over 5.9 million Ukrainian citizens and devastated cities and towns across the country. 

Notre Dame has had a long-standing partnership with UCU in Lviv, and this partnership has become ever more important as the University seeks to support the UCU community in this time of war. During the 2022-23 academic year, Notre Dame has hosted 28 exchange students from UCU for a semester on campus. 

Also, as part of the partnership with UCU, Notre Dame awarded 21 new grants to its faculty to conduct research alongside UCU scholars or Ukraine-based organizations in support of the country’s recovery efforts. The diverse array of projects is focused on helping Ukraine rebuild its communities and foster resilience.

Notre Dame has demonstrated its support for Ukraine in numerous other ways over the last year, through academic events and discussions, opportunities for prayer, recognition at various athletic events, and as part of this year’s Notre Dame Forum on War and Peace, including a Theater of War production last fall in Notre Dame Stadium based on the ancient Greek tragedy “The Suppliants,” titled “‘The Suppliants’ Project: Ukraine.” More information is here.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at news.nd.edu on February 24, 2023.