February 25, 2022

Dear Members of the Catholic University of America,

The Catholic University of America, in common with the rest of our country, is shocked and dismayed by the news that Vladimir Putin has violated the sovereignty of Ukraine. This is the most serious military aggression on a peaceful sovereign nation since World War II.

Our prayers are with the people of Ukraine, who face great uncertainty for their own personal safety, as well as their national sovereignty. Russia launched hundreds of attacks on Ukraine’s military infrastructure, which have resulted in over 100 deaths. Millions are fleeing the nation to seek refuge in a foreign country. Others are living in bomb shelters or camping out in subway stations. 

Our prayers are also with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which has strong roots here at Catholic University. The Dean of the School of Theology (TRS) is a Ukrainian Catholic priest, and TRS is home of the Institute for the Study of Eastern Christianity. St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary has been a neighbor since 1941, and its seminarians study at Catholic University. The Ukrainian National Shrine of the Holy Family is our neighbor across Harewood Road.

As a show of solidarity with Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, I invite all members of our community to join Pope Francis in making March 2, Ash Wednesday, “a Day of Fasting for Peace.” He reminded us that prayer and fasting are “the weapons of God,” and the best response to “the diabolical evil of violence.”

Let us also join Pope Francis in his prayer to Mary, Queen of Peace, “to save the world from the madness of war."


John Garvey