'They want liberty': Chicago area Ukrainian-Americans pray for war in Ukraine to end

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dozens of Ukrainian Americans and supporters came out Saturday night to not only pray for their native country, but for some, their own family members caught in a conflict a half-world away.
Singing in their native tongue, parishioners bowed their heads at St. Nicholas Catholic Cathedral as they prayed for those who are fighting to defend Ukraine, as well as for those who lost loved ones in the war.

"They're people! They want to be free! They want liberty," said George Matwyshyn, a Ukrainian-American parishioner.

"You feel helpless but being this far away, we do what we can," said fellow parishioner Danylo.

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"Every day gets harder and harder when we see just the inhumane things that are happening." added parishioner Chrystya Wereszczak.
For some, the images coming from an ocean away hit close to home.

"My grandparents and all of my family, besides my parents, are all in Ukraine," said parishioner Sophia Shimanska.

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As some parishioners' own family members are surviving through that very chaos, some are defending Ukraine from Russia's relentless attacks.

"Do not stop fighting until the battle is won! We are with you in spirit," said Iwan Skomoroch. "God bless you, soldiers!"
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Many coming together in the face of war are joining a resounding cry heard across the world to see this Russia-Ukraine conflict come to an end.

"We know that United in prayer, under God, that there will be victory," Wereszczaksaid.

According to the United Nations, about 550 civilians have been killed since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began. About a thousand people were hurt, however, that number is believed to be considerably higher. Of those killed, more than two dozen were children.
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