North Port Ukrainians pray for peace as loved ones prepare for war

In the kitchen and dining hall of St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church, prayers are silently said as volunteers roll stuffed cabbages.

"We didn't sleep last night. When something happens you have to busy your heart, your head, your hands," said Maria Luba.

The volunteers have been up all night, as they learned of the attack on Ukraine.

"Three o'clock this morning. I spoke with both sons. They told mama, ‘We have war,’" said Luba.

Luba's two sons are officers in the Ukrainian Military Reserves.

"They called them already to Army. My younger son married. He has two children. Children crying. Wife crying. I can’t describe this situation," she shared.

At times Luba's eyes fill with tears, knowing her whole family is in the middle of war.

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"Nobody can believe we have war in 2022. We start building our country so nice. Very hard-working people. We love each other. We stick together. But I don’t know what we do now. Where my family should run? I don’t know. My mama 86 years old," cried Luba.

That emotion is shared.

"Everybody is so sad. It is big tragedy for everybody. Not just Ukraine. Everybody," said Daria Bahan.

Bahan prays the people of Russia will stand up against Putin's war.

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"If people will not do it, there is no war. That we believe. We pray. People get smart and say stop. We will not do that," said Bahan.

As their blessing candle flickers, they pray for the safety and protection of their families and county.

"We will try to help how we can. We will pray here. I will pray at home. I light the candle and say God help these people. We ask God. Help all world to help protect Ukraine. Stand up to help Ukraine. Please help us," said Bahan.

Saint Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church will be selling Ukrainian takeout food Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 7890 W Price Blvd, North Port.