On Friday, October 5, the Assumption Catholic School community in Perth Amboy, NJ gathered to honor the memory of the innocent victims of the Holodomor, the famine-genocide of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine that killed unknown millions of men, women, and children. Assumption Catholic School joined the 85-day international action of the Ukrainian World Congress and its partners – Light a Candle of Remembrance – dedicated to the 85th anniversary of this catastrophic event in Ukraine.
The eighth-grade class solemnly processed into the church, carrying with them a simple loaf of bread. Ukraine was once called the breadbasket of Europe. This bread was symbolically placed on the tetrapod before the start of Liturgy as an offering in memory of the victims and as a symbol of hope. Fr. Ivan offered special petitions during the Liturgy for the departed victims of the Holodomor, and against hunger and intolerance.
Immediately following Liturgy, a requiem service was held to commemorate the child victims, who suffered the most because they were the most vulnerable. The eighth-grade class read aloud the names of 85 children who died during the Holodomor. It is likely that 1.5 to 4 million children died during the height of the famine-genocide.
At the conclusion of the requiem service, students, teachers, and faithful placed individual stalks of wheat in front of the icon of the Blessed Virgin, imploring her for her continued protection over Ukraine, the United States of America, and Assumption Catholic School.
May the memories of those who died during the Holodomor be eternal and may they continue to rest peacefully in the hands of our merciful God! Vichnaya Pamyat!