Fayette County Ukrainian Priest Prays for Peace

March 16, 2022
(Latrobe, Pa) Father Oleh Seremchuck hasn’t been getting much sleep lately. With all of his family members living in his native Ukraine, Father Seremchuck is up most nights watching news reports, then making phone calls to relay critical information to his family.

Recently, he called his mother at 3:30 a.m. her time to let her know air raid sirens were sounding near their home in Uzhhorod, a western city on the border with Slovakia.

“I know my mom wouldn’t hear them and we had to wake them up so they could go to the shelter,” he explained.

For the most part, the news Father Seremchuck is getting firsthand from his family is that their town is quiet. However, Father Seremchuck, Pastor of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Perryopolis and Administrator of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Scottdale, said the situation could change quickly.

“The Russians are shooting their ballistic missiles from the Black Sea, and you never know where the target might be,” he said. “Yesterday, my mom accepted into our home two refugees, a mother and a daughter, from Kyiv, because they are scared. Everybody is scared.”

Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, is under heavy attack from Russian forces as they continue to try to surround the city.

On March 15, Father Seremchuck visited Saint Vincent Basilica Parish, Latrobe, to join in prayer for the people of Ukraine and for peace.

“Ukraine needs everything,” he said. “First, prayer.”

Father Seremchuck said most of the infrastructure in Ukraine has been destroyed along with hospital, schools and apartment buildings. He said humanitarian and financial support is especially needed.

“Over 2½ million people have become refugees. In the southeast city of Mariupol, some 300,000 people have had no access to food or water for more than two weeks,” he said.

Bishop Larry J. Kulick, is asking the faithful of the Diocese of Greensburg to continue to pray for Ukraine and its people during the season of Lent. A daily prayer that can be recited daily can be found here.

You can also see Bishop Kulick’s Lenten Reflection for Ukraine here.

Additionally, if you would like to donate to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to help families affected in Ukraine, please click here. CRS partner Caritas Poland assists Ukrainians crossing into Poland for safety, and nearly 3 million people need help.

Father Seremchuck said he is proud of the bravery displayed by the people in Ukraine. Like most men between the ages of 18 and 60, his older brother has joined the military to protect the country. That causes his mother to worry even more.

“We have good military support from the United States and European countries and that helps, but the bravery our people now is something that has to be recognized as a miracle,” Father Seremchuck said.

His prayer is for another miracle – a quick and peaceful end to the invasion.


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