By any measure, Saint Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Church is a small congregation that now has a big mission.
On Sunday, the Greek Orthodox church in The Colony held its first service since Russia began an invasion into Ukraine four days ago.
Volodymyr Chernylo came to the service with his wife and two small children. He is from Ukraine, his wife is from Russia.
“The only way at this time is to go and pray,” Chernylo said. “Pray for peace, pray for people out there on the other side.”
After the service, about 40 people gathered outside the church for additional prayers and unity by singing the Ukraine national anthem.
Chrystya Geremesz with the Ukrainian American Society of Texas said the support and awareness for Ukraine have been overwhelming in recent days and hopes the attention and focus do not wane.
“We need to continue to do what we can humanitarian, financially and spiritually,” Geremesz said.
USAT brought signs of support most with some version of “Standing with Ukraine” - others were more direct in denouncing Russia and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.
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Geremesz adds any support is great but asks North Texas neighbors to offer direct financial aid through non-profits that can get funds to Ukraine. All of it will help to aid what many fear will not be a short-lived invasion.
Iryna Shevchuk’s in-laws are still in Ukraine. Her young daughter Natalia says she spoke to her grandparents in western Ukraine earlier Sunday but she is worried.
“Ukraine doesn’t deserve this, the whole doesn’t deserve any of this,” Shevchuk said.
St. Sophia’s leader, Reverend Pavlo Popov, said Sunday he too is encouraged by the rallying of European countries with the United States opposing Putin and the invasion.
“The whole world is standing together,” Popov said. “There is truth, there is light, there is hope. God is with us, who can stand against us?”