DENVER (CBS4) – Inside a Byzantine Catholic Church in Denver prayers of hope are continued to be offered for peace in Ukraine.

“We’re so geographically separated, yet many of our people do have extended family over in Ukraine,” said Father Michael O’Loughlin.

Many members of the church are also took part in National Days of Repentance and fasting that lead up to Sunday’s succession vote in Crimea.

While an overwhelming number of Crimeans reportedly voted in favor of joining Russia, opponents of the referendum fear oppression and persecution.

“We Greek Catholics are worried about being persecuted too — not necessarily in Crimea, but if Russia decides to go any further west, that’s where our people are,” O’Loughlin said.

Ukraine’s Prime minister insists the country, nor the west, will recognize the referendum, calling it illegitimate. However after thousands of Russian troops seized control of Crimea two weeks ago some worry the invasions won’t stop there.

“If they can come in and invade Crimea, what’s to keep them from invading the rest of Ukraine? That’s what the people are very worried about,” O’Loughlin said.

In the meantime the congregation will keep praying for a peaceful resolution.

“We can’t help them financially or politically, but we can help them with prayer,” O’Loughlin said.


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