By Ross DiMattei

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the war in Ukraine continues on a path of escalation, people all over the world, including in Philadelphia, are standing with Ukraine in solidarity. Prayers for peace could be heard at Sunday masses across the city on Sunday.

Churches like St. Nicholas have become popular places for Ukrainian Americans to come together and pray for peace.

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On Sunday morning, the sound of prayer filled the pews at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood.  

Churches like St. Nicholas have become popular places for Ukrainian Americans to come together in Philadelphia and pray for peace.

“I have never felt before like Ukrainians can pray so much,” Father Ruslan Borovyi said.

Nearly 5,000 miles away, Ukraine is at war with Russia and fighting to maintain its independence against the oncoming invasion.

“There is much, I think, fear because everyone has relatives in Ukraine,” Borovyi said.

Most of these parishioners have friends and family caught in the middle of the conflict.

“Well they’re upset of course,” Anna Makuch said. “And I was 5 years old when the first war started and I was running away and a lot of it is coming back.”

Churches like St. Nicholas have become popular places for Ukrainian Americans to come together in Philadelphia and pray for peace.

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The theme at Sunday morning’s mass was forgiveness.

Borovyi sees the irony.

“Forgiveness is something maybe, I would think, some people might say inappropriate, in this case,” Borovyi said.

But despite the difficulty of the lesson, he knows it’s one worth preaching, especially during these war-torn times.

“It’s really hard not to be hypocrites while speaking about forgiveness,” Borovyi said.

“We are victorious, not just by fighting away the Russian troops from Ukraine, but also fighting away the anger in our hearts,” Borovyi said.

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Borovyi says there are three ways you can help the Ukrainian people: through the power of prayer, by sharing factual information about the conflict with Russia, and by making donations whenever possible.