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Ukrainians from Our Area React to Plane Tragedy

BERWICK — It was a plane crash heard around the world, a Malaysian flight carrying nearly 300 people shot down in Ukraine. It was a crash that grabbed the attention of many, but had particular meaning for people of Ukrainian descent.

“Since I am very pro-Ukrainian, my initial reaction was it was the Russian separatists that are fighting the Ukrainian government,” said Fr. John Seniw.

Fr. John Seniw is the pastor at the SS Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Berwick.

While it’s still unclear who shot the Malaysian flight over Ukraine Thursday, Fr. Seniw said this shows how serious the fighting between Ukrainians and Russians has become.

“It’s spiraling out of control in a sense that they’ve given these sophisticated weapons to people who are probably not that well trained,” said Fr. Seniw.

Joseph Roll is also Ukrainian, a parishioner at Fr. Seniw’s church.

“It’s an international problem now. It’s something which is going to maybe open up some eyes and make people a little bit more aware of the broadness of the conflict,” said Joseph Roll of Scott Township.

Both men have family and friends in Ukraine, who they say do not live near the ongoing fighting.

Fr. Seniw has a trip planned for September but says he’s not too worried. He does, however, feel for the innocent victims of this conflict, like the nearly 300 who were killed in the crash.

“We are praying very much for the innocent victims. We are praying for peace in Ukraine, that people would realize why all these innocent victims? Is this necessary?” said Fr. Seniw.

Fr. Seniw said anyone who wants to make donations to help the people in Ukraine can send them to the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy in Philadelphia.


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