Ukrainian youth groups and schools hold prayer vigils, peace rallies in response to war

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Prayer vigils and rallies for peace are being held by concerned citizens in the U.S. and around the globe as Ukraine battles the Russian invasion.

Youth groups and schools throughout the country are doing their part to send well wishes to the people directly impacted by the war and protest the clashes that were started by the Russian Armed Forces on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Anna Cirilli, the principal of the St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago told Fox News Digital that students have been organizing prayer vigils to show support for family members and friends who are still in Ukraine.

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“The students and staff continue to pray for peace for Ukraine,” Cirilli said.

The St. Nicholas Cathedral School is a Pre-K to 8th grade school located in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago, Illinois.

The St. Nicholas Cathedral School is a Pre-K to 8th grade school located in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago, Illinois.
(Google Maps)

In a written vigil excerpt from Monday, Feb. 28, which was provided to Fox News Digital, the St. Nicholas Cathedral School prayed for the safety and protection of all those affected by the war.

“There are people that are protecting their land by fighting in the armed services, volunteer battalions, and militias. These people are heroes, they are the pride of the country for putting their lives on the line for the safety of Ukraine and for all of Europe,” St. Nicholas Cathedral School vigil participants said during their prayer. “There are innocent civilians that are paying the price of a war that they did not want. Too many people have become refugees, while others remain in hiding.”

Anna Cirilli, the principal of the St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago told Fox News Digital that students have been organizing prayer vigils to show support for family members and friends who are still in Ukraine.

Anna Cirilli, the principal of the St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago told Fox News Digital that students have been organizing prayer vigils to show support for family members and friends who are still in Ukraine.
(Photo courtesy St. Nicholas Cathedral School )

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The prayer vigil participants continued their invocation by noting that families are being separated and are unsure of when they’ll be able to see each other again.

“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not new, but Ukraine is its own independent country with its own history, beliefs, culture, language, and traditions,” vigil participants said.

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The Ukrainian American Youth Association – an American branch of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM), a patriotic and faith-based nonprofit scouting organization – has been spreading awareness about prayer vigils and peaceful protests throughout the country.

Two days before Russia attacked Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, the Ukrainian American Youth Association had urged its members to contact the White House to honor the Budapest Memorandum and put sanctions on Russia on Facebook. The organization’s call to “help Ukraine” came about after weeks of tension grew between the two countries as Russia built up its military near Ukraine’s borders.

The organization’s Ohio youth chapter CYM Cleveland was one of the first to hold a “Cleveland Pray for Ukraine” event before Russia’s attack, according to a news post from the Ukrainian Youth Association website.

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Several other chapters have gone on to host prayer vigils, including the organization’s Illinois chapter CYM (AUYA) Palatine, which held an initial church service on Thursday, where members prayed for families in Ukraine at the Immaculate Conception Church.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Ukrainian American Youth Association for comment.

Outside of prayer, the organization has been keeping the public in the loop with Facebook posts about war reports and peace events that are happening in the U.S. 

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On Thursday, the Ukrainian American Youth Association highlighted a “STOP PUTIN” rally in NYC. Three days later, the organization shared a Change.org petition calling for a “No-Russian-Fly-Zone over Ukraine” and highlighted peaceful demonstrations that took place in Boston and in front of the White House.

The Ukrainian American Youth Association has 28 chapters in 12 U.S. states. It reportedly works in conjunction with branches of the Ukrainian Youth Association in eight countries.

Other branches that have actively called for peace include the Ukrainian Youth Association – CYM Edmonton in Canada and CYM Sydney in Australia.

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Popular social media hashtags that are being used to encourage prayers and support while keeping the public informed include #PrayersForUkraine and #StandWithUkraine.

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