[USF President] Community Update: Ukraine Invasion

Dear Members of the USF Community, 

Like many of you, I am saddened and stunned as the unjustified, cynical, and murderous invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces unfolds on television screens, in newspaper coverage, and on social media. I am heartbroken that families and communities are suffering and dying, many fleeing their homes to an uncertain future, others battling in the streets to defend their way of life. 

And I imagine that you, like me, may be watching these horrific scenes and reflecting on other instances around the world — including times in our own nation’s history — when a brutal incursion into sovereign territory left people dead and communities destroyed. 

Pope Francis has called for people of all faiths to combat the “diabolical insistence, the diabolical senselessness of violence” by fasting and praying for peace in Ukraine on Ash Wednesday, March 2. Here at USF, University Ministry will dedicate the Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. in St. Ignatius Church to the people of Ukraine. Dónal Godfrey, S.J., will preside and preach. All are welcome. 

We are also directly reaching out to our students from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus to offer them support and resources. 

If any member of the community finds they need support during this very difficult time, please note the following: 

With prayers for peace and for your well-being and safety,
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.