SCRANTON – Daria Dolhy felt blessed being able to join with more than 150 other people during a prayer service for an end to the war in Ukraine on Sept. 25, 2022.
“It was beautiful and all the prayers go straight up to heaven and help with, hopefully, stopping the war and securing peace for everyone,” the Scranton woman said.
Dolhy, a parishioner of Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church of Scranton, was happy to visit the Cathedral of Saint Peter for the prayer service.
“It gives me goose pimples whenever I go to something like this,” she said.
Father Myron Myronyuk, Pastor, Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church of Scranton, who has several family members still living in Ukraine and fighting in the Ukrainian military, led the prayer service along with the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.
“It was a beautiful event and I think it brought everyone together to share in the need for prayer to stop the war in Ukraine,” Mary Beth Carson of Scranton said.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine reached its seven-month mark, Carson said she continues to have concerns about how long the war will last.
“I do have concerns about how the people of Ukraine will continue to be able to sustain themselves against the enemy,” she added. “That just underscores why we need to be here and we do need to work together in prayer.”
As he welcomed the crowd to the Cathedral, Bishop Bambera noted that with the passage of time many people have become “desensitized” to the ongoing war.
“We must continue to be vigilant,” the bishop noted. “Perhaps this is the most appropriate time to storm heaven with our hopes, our prayers and most especially our trust in God’s mercy.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed in the conflict and many others, including civilians, have been wounded.
Father Myronyuk expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude for everyone who has been praying for his motherland.
“What is clear is that great suffering and a heavy cross have been placed upon many innocent people, who in all truth, have nowhere to turn expect to God – God, who is the comforter of the afflicted, the refuge of the storm,” he said.
The Ukrainian pastor said his brother, who is a member of the Ukrainian military, has gotten all of his fellow soldiers to pray. He said they have no fear in repelling their Russian aggressors.
“They all pray. They pray the rosary. Most of them, they don’t pray often but they know they need the help,” Father Myronyuk recounted.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Father Myronyuk noted that people in Lackawanna County have donated $200,000 to help Ukraine, including medications, winter pants, boots and much more.
“Churches, schools, hospitals, homes, orphanages, cultural centers, libraries, roads, bridges and parks are being destroyed,” he said. “But you know, because of your holy prayers, Ukraine is still standing!”
The prayer service came during a pivotal time. Just days prior, in a prerecorded video message, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization that would call up roughly 300,000 reservists to the military. During the address, Mr. Putin also challenged the West over its support for Ukraine.
“Today, Ukraine is fighting for every nation’s right to exist,” Father Myronyuk added.