On Sunday, March 6, The Basilica was honored to host almost 300 attendees at an Ecumenical Evening Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and Russia. The evening was co-hosted by Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Rev. Ann Svennungsen (Bishop of the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Rev. Patricia Lull (Bishop of the St. Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and Rev. Craig Loya (Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota), with Chorbishop Sharbel Maron (Pastor of the Maronite rite parish St. Maron) and Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk (Ukrainian rite Catholic priest and pastor of St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church). The prayer service included music from The Basilica’s Schola Cantorum and St. Constantine’s choir, which sang in Ukrainian and wore traditional Ukrainian attire.
“This Lent, we gather in gratitude for a God who indeed knows us well,” said Bishop Lull in her homily. “A God who knows the desperation we feel in the face of a massive military invasion of Ukraine. The raw human ache that reminds us how small we are, the long shadow of empires, and the world affairs that unfold before our eyes. This Lent, prayers for mercy and peace are foremost in our hearts and on our lips.”
“Some [in danger] are people those of you who are here know by name,” Bishop Lull continued. “Family, a co-worker, an in-law, a friend, a former schoolmate. The anguish of keeping vigil as you wait for news of safety or harm is almost impossible to bear, as any of us who has ever waited in a hospital corridor can attest. Known to us or not, the people in the midst of this crisis are people with names and faces, hopes for their children, and a deep desire for peace. One of the Insidious tricks of war is that it causes us to lose sight of the humanity of those on the other side—civilian or soldier.”
Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk spoke passionately, saying, “Two days ago we had a panel about the events in Ukraine, and how we can help during these times. One of the questions was, ‘Why is the war in Ukraine different from other wars in the world?’ This is not a war of aggression, rather this war has a different purpose. The destruction of the Ukrainian nation and its history. The destruction of a specific Ukrainian identity. The killing of innocent Ukrainians. Christian values such as justice, freedom, solidarity, unity and patriotism are being destroyed in Ukraine. Man cannot see the face of God, but we have seen the face of the devil.”
“Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. Ukraine is working. I ask all of you today to do everything possible to stop this war. Let your voice be heard. Act. We cannot remain silent and do nothing.”
Helping Ukraine: Catholic Relief Services
The Archdiocese recommends that donations be made to Catholic Relief Services at crs.org.
Your help is needed in Ukraine where there are already more than 2.9 million people in need of assistance!
There is great risk of additional suffering both within Ukraine and for those who are fleeing to neighboring countries for safety. CRS and our partners need immediate support to meet both ongoing needs as the situation intensifies.
Years of conflict along the eastern border have already displaced 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 14,000 lives and now 2 million people have fled Ukraine. Throughout this time, Caritas Ukraine, with support from CRS, has been providing emergency relief and recovery.
CRS and Caritas partners on the ground are preparing across Ukraine and in bordering countries, ready to provide safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more.