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Community Offers Prayers For Missing Cruise Couple

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The White Bear Lake community gathered in prayer Sunday after learning that two of their own are among those missing from the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed and tipped over off the Italian coast.

As the search for Gerald and Barbara Heil continued in Italy, church members at St. Pius X offered up prayers for their rescue.

It was during Sunday’s 10 a.m. mass that the church’s choir director told parishioners to pray for the Heils. The couple has four children and 15 grandchildren. Gerald Heil is also an active member of White Bear Lake’s Knights of Columbus.

The community’s concern turned to fear after they heard the Heils’ daughter Sarah confirm to CBS Chicago that her parents were, in fact, missing.

Lori Koscianski, a St. Pius X member, heard Sarah Heil’s report on her parents.

“She just said that they had been on the cruise; that they at this point were missing; and that the family didn’t have any word yet if they’d been found,” she said.

Sarah Heil told CBS Radio that her parents were excited to travel after spending their lives sending four children to private school from elementary to college.

“When they retired, they went traveling; and this was going to be a big deal,” Heil told CBS Chicago. “It was going to be a 16-day trip.”

At St. Pius X, there will be someone praying for those still missing in Italy 24 hours a day, Koscianski said.

“This is our time to be here,” she said.

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