Rep. Carolyn Maloney honors Taras Shevchenko with visits to her District’s Ukrainian churches

Congresswoman Expresses support for Ukrainian community during crisis

March 12, 2014 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney spent this past Sunday, March 9, visiting Ukrainian churches in the Brooklyn and Queens portions of her district. Congresswoman Maloney has sizable Ukrainian populations in all three boroughs that she represents. Many of them attend the Ukrainian churches in northwest Brooklyn, Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Astoria, Queens.

“Last week I had the privilege of visiting two of the four Ukrainian churches I am privileged to represent in my district, both of which held wonderful celebrations in honor of Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s greatest poet and a symbol of the nation and its great people. A man of extraordinary talent and range, Shevchenko is also revered for his prose, paintings, illustrations and ethnography. I am grateful to have addressed the congregations of Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Astoria and Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Williamsburg. I came to both houses of worship to honor Shevchenko, to express my unwavering support for Ukraine as it establishes its new government, and to hear the concerns of the Ukrainian Americans I represent. Ukraine is a peaceful country whose people were the first to voluntarily give up nuclear weapons, an act of great courage. It was a great pleasure to spend time with members of the Ukrainian community. I loved the Ukrainian cake and coffee I had at Holy Ghost. I look forward to meeting with the community in the near future, and will take their stories and concerns back to Washington where I will address them on the House Floor,” said Congresswoman Maloney.  

Congresswoman Maloney’s visits to the churches coincided with the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko, considered the Ukrainian equivalent of Shakespeare or Da Vinci, and the father of Ukrainian literature and a symbol of the country’s nationhood. The day is a widely recognized holiday in Ukraine. Congresswoman Maloney joined the Ukrainian congregations in celebrating Shevchenko and in pledging support for Ukraine’s new government, for which she recently supported legislation that will provide at least $1 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. government. Accompanying Maloney was Andrij Dobriansky, a member of the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and Jerry Leboedowitz, a Trustee of the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church.

The first of Rep. Maloney’s stops was at Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church in Astoria, Queens, where Congresswoman Maloney met with Father Maxim Kobasuk, the church’s pastor, Father Jovino Ferentz and Father Christopher Woytyna, both of them associate pastors. Congresswoman Maloney addressed the church during mass, thanking its congregants and pastors for having her and committed continued support for Ukrainians in her district, and those fighting for a better Ukraine.

Congresswoman Maloney then went to Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where she talked to worshippers and the Ukrainian American community, after services. Over delicious pieces of Ukrainian cake and coffee, Rep. Maloney made the same commitments to support Ukraine and its community in her district.

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