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Song, prayers offer comfort to Ukrainians fearful for family back home

Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 11:11:54-05

At St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church parishioners sing almost all of the worship.

For Vasyl Ovod, a member of the choir, it's a form of therapy.

"When we singing, we want to cry," said Ovod. "We feel like — it's like yelling, sometime. You want to say why, it happen."

Why the war in Ukraine, he means.

Ovod is among many members of the church fearing for the lives of their families back home.

Last week, some of his family fled to Poland for safety.

But his brother and elderly father stayed behind to help the resistance. His in-laws, he says, have been forced to hide from rocket attacks in a cold basement.

“I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. I cannot work. It’s difficult time. But we try, praying, going, try to do something," says Ovod.

The small Catholic Church, sitting at the corner of 11th and Washington, has been supporting Ukraine for years, especially since 2014.

Hanging right inside the the church hall is a Ukrainian flag. It's full of messages and signatures from Ukrainian soldiers.

The soldiers sent it to St. Michael's as a thank-you note, after the church sent them supplies following Russia's invasion of Crimea.

For Ovod, his wife Oksana, and their children, St. Michael's has been a central part of their life in Milwaukee for the 16 years they've lived in the U.S.

"We came here we loved this place," says Ovod. "And our love was growing and growing and now we cannot live without this church."

He's thankful for the church's material support for Ukrainians fighting the war, as well as the spiritual.

“Praying, it help us. Even our solider from Ukraine," he says. "We feel something magical. When you pray, you give something powerful to them [soldiers].”

Ovod says it you'd like to support the Ukrainian war effort, you can donate money in person at the church or online at the church's website.

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