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Hope's Corner: A Message of Hope for the Ukraine

"On Monday, St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic Church had a rally and fundraiser for humanitarian aid for the people of the Ukraine. And that is just one of many efforts – both here at home and around the country – aimed at aiding our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine," writes Jackie Hope.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. Hope's Corner is a weekly humorous column with a message of hope. (CONTRIBUTED / FOR THE DICKINSON PRESS)

Last Sunday at church, I played the Ukrainian national anthem. And then I offered up “The Great Gates at Kiev,” by Modest Mussorgsky, just for solidarity with the people of the Ukraine. I am a church organist, and I get to do cool things like that.

Many of us here in Southwest North Dakota have friends and relatives living in the Ukraine. Even if we don’t personally know anyone living in that country, we may have friends who do. Many of us are descended from Ukrainian immigrants. And all of us have a friend or two with Ukrainian familial ties of some sort.

The internet site, web.archive.org, posted a United States map that marks 20 communities in the country that have the highest number, per capita, of people of Ukrainian descent. A small town in Pennsylvania is number one. Belfield is number two, at 13.6 percent. Wilton is number five, with a respectable 10.3 percent. And in our corner of North Dakota, we all pretty much know one another.

I watch the news. I read whatever I can about the Ukraine. I feel saddened, helpless, and frustrated. Whenever and wherever people are suffering, other humans feel sad. That is how humans are: we feel other people’s despair. We cheer for the underdogs. We want to help the helpless.

And this touches all of us, here where we live.

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On Monday, St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic Church had a rally and fundraiser for humanitarian aid for the people of the Ukraine. And that is just one of many efforts – both here at home and around the country – aimed at aiding our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine.

Dickinson’s Ukrainian Cultural Institute is continuing their tradition of delicious Friday Lenten lunches this season. Have you tried their fish? And the Institute is also accepting donations for Ukrainian relief efforts. There are additional relief organizations listed on their website, ucitoday.org.

My church, First Congregational United Church of Christ, has partnered with the United Methodist group to hold Wednesday evening Lenten meals and worship services, with our offerings going to Ukrainian humanitarian aid.

And there are many, many other entities who are giving of their time and treasures to help during this crisis. Fundraisers. Prayer groups. Human outreach.

I have watched numerous news clips of refugees crossing from the Ukraine into Poland, Hungary, and other nearby countries. At the borders, where people are massed, I have seen musicians playing for the refugees. Offering them comfort as they wait. One pianist, alone and cold, was playing the old Louis Armstrong hit, “What a Wonderful World.” A message of hope for a better future.

Next Sunday, Ukraine, I am playing that one for you.

Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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