CHICAGO (CBS) — Among those keeping a close eye on developments about the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine are residents of the Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, just before morning mass Friday, Father Roman Artymovych at Saints Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church said there is a great sense of loss in the community, after 298 people died when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 apparently was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.

U.S. officials have said it appears the jet was shot down by a missile, though both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels fighting in that region have denied downing the plane.

“All our families, they have someone who is over there, so that’s a really big tragedy for us,” he said. “We’re really sorry for this loss, but unfortunately that’s what we have in Ukraine.”

Although the Ukrainian church does not have an official stance on the conflict, or the plane crash, Artymovych said his community has been doing what it can – including sending money to families there.

“Call in to Ukraine. We speak with our friends, parents; that’s not really easy, but … we’re trying to be here, and we’re trying to help,” he said.

The church has been praying for many in Ukraine, and planned a special prayer service on Saturday for those facing war and all its heartbreak.

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