Several campus ministries in the US held solidarity vigils and collection efforts to provide emotional support to community members struggling with the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
NBC Connecticut reported that various universities and Catholic organizations have arranged medical supply drives, concerts, and prayer vigils to support students, especially those with families in combat zones.
Religious leaders explained that experiencing a strong, united community will help people deal with the trauma associated with the crisis, whether they are religious or not.
The Need for Comfort
The St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel at Yale University held a benefit concert on Wednesday, urging attendees to pray for peace and the citizens of Ukraine.
Yale postdoctoral medical researcher Oksana Goroshchuk could not hold back tears as a singer performed a traditional Ukrainian folk tune.
“It’s people who support us and people who love us,” said Goroshchuk, whose parents recently fled the war-torn country.
“I feel the importance of preserving my Ukrainian-ness when I hear these songs,” added Sofiya Bidochko, a 19-year-old Yale student.
The University of Rhode Island and Old Dominion University in Virginia held peace vigils seeking peace, with the former being attended by Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews.
Meanwhile, the Hillel organization at Dartmouth College invited several Ukrainian students, regardless of religious affiliation, to a Shabbat dinner. Over matzo ball soup and sandwiches, the students listened to guests speak about their families and country.
However, organizers stressed that faith must be paired with concrete action.
“Prayer alone is not enough. We really put an emphasis on ways that people could either make charitable donations or contribute funds to help the cause, how they could write to their politicians or offer support to the Ukrainian community locally,” said Amy Olson, the executive director of the Hillel group.
In Illinois, the Loyola University Chicago partnered with a Ukrainian student club to collect 60 tons of medical supplies to send to Ukraine.
Also, religious leaders from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota have been accepting humanitarian aid during their services, collecting more than $700 at Ash Wednesday masses.