Latest Laois News: Stradbally and Ukraine forever linked after successful fundraiser

Latest Laois News: Stradbally and Ukraine forever linked after successful fundraiser

Over €3,000 raised at a fundraising event in Stradbally Parish Church

In a stunning display of generosity, a total of €3000 was raised at a service to celebrate Harvest and to welcome Ukrainian neighbours at Sacred Heart Church in Stradbally on Sunday 1st October 2023.

Nataliia Uhnenko from the Ukrainian Laois Support Association & the Malva Ukrainian Choir spoke in poignant terms about the kindness and generosity shown to her fellow Ukrainians, since they were forced to flee their homeland. Nataliia told a packed church that Ukrainians now “see Ireland as our second home”, while waiting to rebuild an even better Ukraine, based on the country’s strong values and indestructible pride.

Bishop Denis Nulty joined Parish Priest Fr David Vard as well as Fr Vasil, a Ukrainian priest living in Dublin who spoke in gentle, warm and hugely positive terms about the experience of his countrymen and women in Ireland. They were joined by Fr Sean Kelly and Rev Janet Finlay with children from both national schools leading the Prayers of the Faithful.

There was incredible local & Laois talent on display, from the Buggie School of Dance & Portlaoise Branch of Comhaltas, joined by both local choirs and the Luggacurran based “Craic agus Ceol” group.

John “The Blue” Maher, a Stradbally legend in his own time, led church choristers and local musicians as well as visiting Ukrainian singers of all ages, beside the altar. ‘Lovely Laois’, ‘Stefania’, ‘Mo Ghile Mear’ and ‘Steal Away’ were among the many highlights, along with beautiful songs and dance from Ukrainian culture.

The moment that will live long in the memory may well be the Malva Choir’s rousing rendition of “Ireland’s Call” at the very end – a moment to cherish.

Emer Liston, one of the organisers, wished a huge thanks to Fr David Vard and Rev Alec Purser, who she said: ‘have shown such leadership and generosity in terms of their time and material supports. Esther Luttrell, Kathleen Sheridan, and the parishes in Stradbally showed the hospitality that we are very, very proud of here in Laois’, commented Ms Liston. 

The monies raised reflect the generosity of the donors at the buckets within the Church, as well as donations from the Parish itself, and the monies will help families found in the worst circumstances as a result of war.