CHICAGO — Students at St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village reflected and mourned the Russian-Ukraine invasion anniversary with a prayer service to remember all the lives lost.

Since the start of the war, the school has welcomed 80 Ukrainian refugees as students and provided help for their families. On Friday, the group gathered in the school’s gymnasium for a solemn service organized by eighth-grade students. 

Many who went up to the podium spoke about their experiences of having family members back in Ukraine and remembered those who died in the war. Others asserted a sense of pride for how Ukraine has held its ground, despite being outnumbered by Russian troops and their attacks. 

Of the welcomed Ukrainian refugees, teachers and staff have taught them English, provided clothing and offered art therapy to overcome the trauma. 

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Eighth-grader Oksana Mazur and her mom left relatives and everything behind in April to seek safety. She told WGN News that she had been adjusting well to her new life but had some difficult moments.  

“It was challenging because it’s a new language, a new state, a new town,” Mazur said.

Religious leaders will gather at St. Nicholas Cathedral School for another prayer vigil at 7:30 p.m. The place of worship is also accepting donations. Anyone interested in donating may do so by clicking here.

The money will go toward refugee school supplies and tuition.