THE ST Munchin’s Ukrainian hub in Limerick City is set to host a very special Christmas Day celebration, but not until January 7.
In a show of support to Limerick’s growing Ukrainian community, the community centre is hosting a special seasonal party on January 7, the day Christmas is traditionally marked in Ukraine.
The date, annually marked as Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas Day, will also see local Redemptorist priest Fr Seamus Enright joining a Ukrainian orthodox priest in a prayer service.
This comes after members of the Ukrainian community in Limerick were invited to join locals in a traditional Irish celebration on December 19.
“The Ukrainians sampled Irish turkey and ham with us, and now they will have their own traditional celebration”, said St Munchin’s manager Linda Ledger.
The community centre this year have arranged a number of festive events to help integrate the Ukrainian community with the welcoming Limerick locals, including a visit from Santa.
“Papa Christmas will visit on New Year’s Day in his traditional blue and white colours to the Ukrainian hub in St Munchin’s,” explained Linda.
“Papa will come to the cabin in the hub. Friends will come and visit. They are lovely people, and anybody is welcome to New Year’s Eve Papa’s Christmas at St Munchin’s.”
Earlier in the year, Linda and the staff of St Munchin’s transformed the former school’s rooms into dorms to provide temporary accommodation for those fleeing the war in Ukraine, welcoming thirty residents in all.
There are currently up to three families per room – women and children mostly – sharing a communal kitchen, in which families often bulk cook for one another.
“Ukrainian meals are different to ours and it gives the residents a sense of purpose and responsibility. The Ukrainians do everything in their cooking from scratch and the hub allows them have their own space and culture,” Linda explained.
The resident children are pupils at local schools Corpus Christi and Thomond College.