As we wrap up our last week of classes this semester, we find ourselves busy preparing for final exams and finishing up our research papers. We also find ourselves busy with the usual tasks this season provides: writing Christmas cards, buying gifts for our loved ones, and spiritually preparing ourselves through prayer and fasting for the celebration of Christ’s birth. In spite of the busyness, on Thursday evening we went out as a seminary community into the cold to pray for the Christians persecuted in the Middle East. There is a club on campus at The Catholic University of America called the Byzantine Student Union which has held a prayerful candlelight vigil for this cause every year for the past five years. It is always a solemn, tranquil gathering. After the vigil, we went inside the Pryzbyla Center on campus to warm up. Students came forward to sing hymns from their various liturgical traditions on the occasion of the Feast of St. Nicholas. We seminarians along with other Ukrainian Catholics in the crowd sang “Tranquil Light” from our Vespers service. To everyone reading this, we wish you a joyful Christmas and a happy 2019! Please remember us in your prayers as we finish this semester, and don’t forget to pray for the Christians around the world who are experiencing all kinds of hardships, especially this time of the year.


Posing for a picture in the Pryz after the candlelight vigil with the faculty adviser of the Byzantine Student Union, Fr. Stefanos Alexopoulos, and its president, Reader Ian Flanders.
(Pictured left to right: Fr. Raphael Strontsitskyy, Seminarian Bohdan Vasyliv, Fr. Wasyl Kharuk, Seminarian Аndrеw Реrrоng, Fr. Robert Hitchens, Subdeacon Alex Bricki, Fr. Stefanos Alexopoulos, Reader Ian Flanders)