Prince Albert Ukrainians to mark 2 years since Russian invasion with prayer and reflection

Herald file photo. Prince Albert Ukrainians wave flags and sing songs during a Ukrainian Independence Day celebration in August 2022.

Pray for Ukraine scheduled for Saturday

It’s been nearly two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, and a group of Prince Albert residents wants to make sure the people affected by that war aren’t forgotten.

Local Ukrainians plan to recognize the two-year mark on Saturday night with an evening of prayer and reflection at St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Prince Albert. Veselka Ukrainian Culture and Heritage Club president Charlene Tebbutt said it’s important to make sure Ukrainian newcomers and residents with friends and family still in the country know they are not alone.

“Two years on we’re still very much aware of what’s happening,” Tebbutt said. “We definitely want to be there for those who are directly affected (or) who have family members directly in Ukraine and are impacted, but also people who are just feeling the weight of the war and the struggle that’s happening.”

Veselka and St. George partnered with the Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers to host the event. The evening includes not only prayer, but also speeches, poetry readings, and performances by the Barveenok Dancers and Veselka Choir.

Two years on, Tebbutt said the war inspires a whirlwind of emotions in many local Ukrainians.

“A lot of people are just really saddened to see what is happening, especially if they are here and so far away,” she explained. “It’s a sad time for them and it’s difficult to understand, so there’s a lot of emotion.”

Veselka and other Ukrainian organizations have stepped up to provide everything from cultural activities and entertainment for newcomers displaced by the war, to fundraising events designed to help Ukrainians hit hard by the fighting.

Tebbutt credited local Prince Albert resident Sonja Jahn for heading up most of those efforts to make Ukrainian newcomers feel at home. Tebbutt said the goal is to help wherever they can.

“They’re settling into a new place. They’re learning a new way of doing things, a new city, having to find jobs and get settled and have their families learn about Prince Albert, so I think all around it can be fairly overwhelming,” she explained. “As a club, we’ve been trying to find ways to bring them in and show our support and get to know them because really, we want to get to know them and make sure they feel welcome.”

Saturday’s evening of prayer and remembrance is just one of several events planned across the province as Saskatchewan Ukrainians commemorate two years since the start of the invasion.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ Yorkton Branch also has a prayer service planned. Ukrainian organizations in Regina and Saskatoon have also planned Canada Stands with Ukraine Until Victory events.

We Continue to Pray for Ukraine begins at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Church.

@kerr_jas •