Dozens gather at St. Andrew Memorial Church for prayer vigil
Dozens of people gathered outside St. Andrew Memorial Church Monday night for a prayer vigil for the people of Ukraine.
Archbishop Daniel Zelinsky says that he received a message from his mother in Ukraine at a late hour. But then that message disappeared. She deleted it after making it through the night. She didn't want him to see her say goodbye.
“She was saying goodbye because of the bombing that was happening because of the military helicopters that were flying,” Zelinsky says.
Many people at the vigil heard similar stories from loved ones in Ukraine. It put tens of thousands of Ukrainian Americans living in New Jersey on edge.
Others felt compelled to show up at the vigil just to show support. Though they say that Ukrainians have long been resilient.
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“My grandmother who lived to 102 years old, she lived through two world wars, the revolution, the famine and everything. So I thought of her a lot over the last few days,” says Andrew Shevchenko, of Randolph.
Religious leaders from different faiths found common ground by putting the blame on one person – Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But some at the vigil said they feel helpless since they can’t be there to care for the injured or dying.
“Because I’m here, the only way I can help is just money and prayers,” says Kristina Pusinska, of Piscataway
But they say that the prayers matter.
“Heartwarming because I feel how many people are supporting us,” says Olena Shtelen, a native of Ukraine.
She says that she wishes the evil in Russia can see it, too.
Gov. Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy also attended the vigil.