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Ukrainian priest supporting homeland from Luzerne County

A priest in Pittston says nearly all of his family is still in Ukraine. He's convinced he can do even more to help from right here in Pennsylvania.

PITTSTON, Pa. — Father Andrii Domnych pastors St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church in Pittston. He came to the United States from Ukraine just two years ago with his wife and children. The rest of his family is still there.

"I contact with them all the time, and sometimes it's tough to hear again, it's hard to believe that it's going on," he said. 

Living in Western Ukraine near bordering European countries, his parents and relatives have been spared the worst of the war. Still, they're working hard to help fellow Ukrainians who are displaced and those taking part in the fight.

"My parents and my mother work directly with refugees and with troopers, those who are going to be fighting and defending our country," Domnych said. "They are working sometimes during the whole week."

Though the bombing has not reached his family's community, it's a fear that haunts him. 

"I think about it all the time. I'm feeling that I could do something and that I could do much more," he said. "That's why they just concern me, they just hurt me, I should say. But then I ask myself, 'what could I do there?' I am a priest, and nobody is going to give me a gun. I would not be able to fight. Then I recognized that from here, I could do much more."

That's why Father Dumnych gathered leaders from different faiths at his church in Pittston on Monday evening, sharing what his knowledge of the situation in Ukraine and leading prayer for his nation.

Rabbis, priests, pastors, and parishioners, all wearing Ukrainian flag pins, showed support. Donations will be sent to groups in Poland for bulletproof vests and helmets. 

Given the financial hardships many in Luzerne County and across the U.S. are enduring, Domnych said every dollar means so much more. 

"They just show me now that we have much bigger values than material values," Domnych said.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube page.   

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