St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church prays for loved ones survivng war

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church held a service Sunday morning to pray for their loved ones surviving war.

Rev. Philip Weiner, pastor of the church says the Ukrainian community celebrates Easter for 40 days. He says this year’s celebration has more meaning than ever.

"That the risen lord will shine his graces upon our brothers and sisters in Ukraine that hopefully one day they will be able to rise up and resurrect from this war,” Rev. Weiner told us.

It’s the first Sunday after Easter. St. Josaphat’s celebrates the holiday according to the Gregorian Calendar. Weiner says since war broke out, every service holds extra special meaning.

“Being aware of the great suffering that is happening now, not only with the people of Ukraine, but their relatives here who do not know what will happen the next day, this war changes every day.”

Parishioners say, along with prayer, they’re fundraising and donating what they can.

"Our Easter bake sale we raised over 1300 dollars we’re one of the collection sites here where people can donate what is needed to be sent over,” Daria Hanushevsky said, who runs the church gift shop.

Weiner says he knows it’s difficult for some to let go of anger and helplessness around the war. He says it’s all about hope.

“If we’re bitter, if we’re sad, if we’re upset which we’re all experiencing that kind of takes hope away, hope means that there will be a tomorrow that there will be a solution at some point.”

And solutions are happening. The Biden administration is set to open an online portal for Ukrainian refugees Monday, and U.S. citizens will be able to sign up to be sponsors.