New Jersey Ukrainian church holds prayer vigil in honor of Ukrainian citizens under attack
Dozens of people filled a Ukrainian Catholic church in Morris County on Thursday night for an emotional prayer service.
Many Ukrainians in New Jersey are still coming to terms with the violence in their homeland as the Russian military invades. Some are seeking an emotional release by finding comfort in community.
“My parents escaped Ukraine and it seems like a lot more people are going to be escaping as well,” says one member of the community
This includes people like Tetiana Morozobska.
“Honestly, you are anxious to go to sleep,” she says.
Morozobska, 29, says that this is the first time that she may have to rush to a bomb shelter.
Morozobska was in western Ukraine when she spoke with News 12 New Jersey. It is a part of the country spared in recent years from the violence. But this time, Morozobska says she is not so confident.
LIVE UPDATES: The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
“At 4 p.m. there were four missiles launched from the Belarusian side, so we were anxious maybe it was headed toward us,” Morozobska says.
She says she thought about running, but she was not sure where to go.
Ukrainians are bracing for prolonged pain, and they warn that others will feel it, too.
“This is going to be a domino effect. If we don’t stop the aggression now, the next country to go will be Poland,” says a member of the church.
They balance that fear with a need to project optimism.
Oksana Telepko worries for her mother and sister back home. But she says they are resilient.
“People have faith…and they are not afraid of anything,” says she says
But there are limits. And there are growing calls for the West to do more than issue sanctions.
"We definitely need help. We need support. We need resources. We need someone to be on our side, because right now it's just us against Russia and Belorussia,” says Morozobska.
Religious leaders outside the community are condemning the violence. Cardinal Joe Tobin, of the Newark Archdiocese, says people must always reject war as a political solution.