//static.getclicky.com/js

Ukrainian Community Celebrates the Easter Service in Burlington with an adopted parish in Bakhmut

By Denis Gibbons

April 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A strong connection already established between parishioners of Holy Protection Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church and their brothers and sisters in Ukraine has enhanced the transfer of aid to refugees and victims of war.

The Burlington church adopted another parish in the city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, as a sister city shortly after Russian troops crossed the border there in the summer of 2014 and eventually annexed Donetsk.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the area recently.

Since the war started on February 24, slightly used and new clothing has been packaged along with dry food, toiletries, first aid items etc. to make life a little easier for them.

Father Zenon Walnycky leads in prayer, along with Deacon Danylo Dudar and altar servers attired in blue.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Volunteers gathered in the parish hall on Pine Street on Easter Weekend and another drive was held in Millcroft Park on Sunday, which was Easter for those of the Ukrainian right. As a result, dry goods, sleeping bags, medical supplies etc. will be shipped to the front lines in Ukraine.

“I’ve been doing fundraising ever since I moved to Aldershot in 2007 and I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of Burlingtonians,” said Lida Pichocki, one of the volunteers. “It’s amazing to see that people are standing with Ukraine and that they care.”

Pichocki’s brother Stephen, who is in charge of the local Tyrsa Ukrainian Dance Troupe, said his dancers will perform at a special Concert for Ukraine at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Tenor Jeff Madden is also on the card, accompanied by pianist Andrea Battista, as well as bandura players and a special Ukrainian song performed by three Ukrainian refugee children, who recently arrived in Burlington.

Iryna Demchuk, who fled Ukraine after the war started, accepts some Easter eggs from an altar server.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Iryna Demchuk, another refugee, left her hometown of Zbarazh in Western Ukraine in March and eventually made her way to Burlington at the invitation of her cousin Stefanie MacArthur and her husband John.

It took her more than 10 hours to travel by bus past the large Ukrainian city of Lviv to Warsaw, the capital of Poland, where she stayed for three weeks with the help of friends before obtaining a visa to come to Canada.

“I want the war to stop as soon as possible,” Demchuk said. “I want our family to be together.

“I saw the eyes of a man who took his wife and children to the Polish border and then had to come back. It was very painful.”

Naturally, Demchuk misses her husband and would like to go back home when it is safe. But for now she will volunteer with the church to help Ukrainian refugees and those still back in the country in any way she can.

Late in the evening on April 5, the noisy sounds of four Russian winged missiles were heard flying over the region near Zbarazh.

Luckily three were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence equipment and the fourth was damaged, preventing it from reaching its target, believed to be civil infrastructure in the western part of the country.

Demchuk, who works as a foreign economic activity specialist for the town council of Zbarazh, left at the urging of her husband Volodymyr, an architect who must stay to provide support to Ukrainian military forces because he is 41 and they have no children.

Lviv, located only two hours from the Polish border, has mostly been spared from damage, although 35 people were killed on March 13 when Russian missiles targeted a Ukrainian military base about 40 miles to the northwest.

Father Zenon Walnycky blesses an Easter food basket with the assistance of Deacon Danylo Dudar.      Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Later five Russian rocket attacks hit the city’s civilian infrastructure.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.