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COLUMBIA - People of different religions gathered to pray Tuesday for MU employees affected by recent cuts.

The St. Thomas More Newman Center hosted a prayer service for MU employees following the university’s recent layoffs and budget cuts. Anyone from any faith was welcome to attend at the Newman Center Chapel.

The pastor, Father Richard Litzau, said the church wanted to find a way to help the community through its struggles.

“Because we’re located on campus, we have a lot of awareness of what’s happening,” Litzau said. “The staff and I sat down and said we really need to do something from our faith perspective, in terms of being able to help people, give them support or a place to be, and remind them that we are on campus."

MU education professor Rosa Marra, who is a member at the Newman Center, said she wanted to show her support.

“I think that bringing to bear a spirituality to the situation can maybe help some of us cope," she said. "I am blessed that my job was not affected directly, but certainly in our college, we downsized by a significant number of persons and we all need to work on having a compassionate response those situations."

Hundreds are affected by the cuts and layoffs made by MU this past June. A total of 171 administrative, faculty, and staff positions were (or will be) eliminated, and 136 vacant positions will remain unfilled. 86 positions in auxiliary units of Student Affairs and Athletics were also eliminated.