Prayers for Ukraine at vigil in Derry

Local people have spoken of how they feel a sense of kinship with the people impacted by the war on Ukraine at a special prayer vigil in Derry.

By Brendan McDaid
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 9:22 am

The vigil was organised by a group of local women as an act of community solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Polish priest Rev Ignacy Saniuta from St Eugene’s Cathedral led the hundreds gathered in the Rosary from the steps of the Guildhall on Wednesday evening.

Fr Saniuta, who also ministers to the Polish community in the Diocese of Derry, and the organisers said they had gathered in the city centre to pray for peace for the people of Ukraine and Russia and all those affected by wars in other parts of the world.

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People gather in Guildhall Square on Wednesday evening last during a candle-lit vigil in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2209GS – 034

A number of Christian songs were also played live by local artists at the event and cards passed out as the crowd joined in a prayer which states:

“We pray for the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia, for their countries and their leaders.

“We pray for all those who are afraid; that your everlasting arms hold them in this time of great fear.”

The Journal asked local people why they had felt it was important to attend.

People gather in Guildhall Square on Wednesday evening last during a candle-lit vigil in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2209GS – 023

Gerry Deeney said: “It’s important to stand with them at this time. It’s not every day a super power walks into your country just because you won’t become a vassal state to them.”

Elaine McFarland said: “It’s not that long ago we were there ourselves, we know what it is like. We are coming out of it thank goodness and hopefully they will too.

“There is always hope; there is always hope.”

Damian McAdams: “As Irish people we have had our share over the years of troubles. We can pretty readily identify with other crises around the world. In saying that, in comparison this is something really exceptional and very frightening indeed. It tends to be the case, people who have walked the walk or experienced an experience like that, there’s a deeper feeling.”

People gather in Guildhall Square on Wednesday evening last for a candle-lit vigil in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2209GS – 035

Bob Mairs said: “Whatever it is we have to do, whether it is praying or sanctions or whatever, donations.

A local woman, Nuala, said: “I just think they need all the support we can give. Just thinking of what those people are going through and we are sitting in our warm houses, you have to show some kind of support.”

Fiona, who was with Nuala at the vigil, said: “It is just so sad really; it is just heartbreaking.”