SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — The city of Santee has unanimously approved plans for a new Ukrainian Catholic Church.
“This means a lot for our community. It’s going to be like a little piece of Ukraine here in San Diego county,” said Luke Miller.
Miller shares that their church community was founded back in 1959, when his grandparents and others with Ukrainian roots came together for a picnic in Lakeside.
Since 2018 they’ve been meeting at St. Augustine High School in North Park. Their new permanent church home will be constructed on the corner of Carlton Oaks Drive and Pike Road in Santee.
It’s a milestone decades in the making – and one that brings hope after a heartbreaking few years.
“We’ve had people in our church that have lost relatives, people with relatives who have been captured by the Russian military, that are fighting on the frontlines or under attack…to have this as a piece of hope or consolation…it’s going to bring a lot of peace and maybe even a small sense of closure for our people,” he said.
Miller says they chose Santee as many in their church have ties to east county. Santee’s affordability and recent development were also taken into consideration.
“We really wanted to triangulate on an area that’s going to have a lot of positive growth in the future and Santee is definitely that place,’ he said.
“It is our dream,” added Father Yuri Sas.
He says the traditional Ukrainian design, complete with five golden domes, will provide a safe haven not just for their congregation but also for many refugees who have joined them after finding a new home in San Diego.
“To find friends…to find support…sometime they don’t need material help, they need emotional or spiritual help,” said Father Yuri.
The church hopes to break ground in January 2024 and be completed sometime next year.