Prayers for Minnesota couple missing in ship disaster

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (AP) — Friends are praying for an American couple missing since last week’s cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy.

About 450 people gathered at a suburban church Wednesday night to pray for Jerry and Barbara Heil, of White Bear Lake, Minn.

The Heils are active members of St. Pius X Church. Friends say the couple is devoted to charity and volunteering.

Some family members were present, including granddaughter Lexi Heil. She asked everyone to continue to pray for her grandparents, others on board the ship and the rescuers.

The church went dark at the end of the nearly hourlong service as those gathered inside lighted candles for the Heils.

The Heils were among 21 people still missing in an official tally released Wednesday by Italian authorities.