Holy spirit

Newman Hall-Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley raises voices and prayers for Ukraine as war with Russia continues

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) — Raising their voices and prayers for Ukraine, Berkeley’s Newman Hall-Holy Spirit Parish showed their support Saturday night.

“I think we are all brothers and sisters under God and it’s just a horrible situation, Father Ivan Toa said. “I think we are all called to support each other.”

TAKE ACTION: Local and national support for Ukrainians

Prayer support for those still in Ukraine, those who have fled and those whose lives have been lost – over 350 civilians caught up in this war so far.

“Tonight is a time of mourning, of conviviality, of meditation, of prayer,” said Stefano Flavoni, pianist and conductor.

RELATED: Ukraine Supporters in the Bay Area Rally Against War, Raise Money for Humanitarian Aid

The choir is made up of UC Berkeley alumni brought together by Marika Kuzma; the Ukrainian American once their manager.

“I just sent out a huge group email and said who is available, who can come and rehearse and yes big heart these people, big heart,” Kuzma said, noting that he has family in Ukraine and keeps in touch daily.

“It’s heartbreaking. The main thing I feel about them is that they want to feel connected to the outside world because they feel isolated right now.”

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The parish said its prayers and also raised funds on Saturday evening, adding to its collection for Ukraine.

“This Ash Wednesday the numbers were up,” the father said. You. “Our masses were packed and we raised over $3,000, which is pretty phenomenal.”

Coming together brings some peace in a time of turmoil.

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“I think having a service together allows us to experience the range of emotions that we all feel but don’t know what to do with,” said Penny Washbourn, a parishioner.

Prayer, Kuzma said, is one of the most powerful ways to help.

“What moves me is that Ukrainians believe in the power of prayer,” Kuzma said. “Every email I get from them is pray for us, pray for us, pray for us.”

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