Friends of a Twin Cities couple missing in the cruise ship wreck on the Italian coast are holding a candlelight vigil Wednesday. Barbara and Jerry Heil are the only Americans among the more than 20 people who remain unaccounted for.
Jerry Heil, 69 and his wife Barbara, 70, have been members of St. Pius the 10th Catholic Church in White Bear Lake since 1973.
Their church has become the gathering point for those praying for the Heils' safe return.
Church Operations Director Larry Erickson says parishioners remain hopeful. He says the Heils have long been leaders in the parish.
"I see them every day going to Mass. What's really neat is they're always together. They walk side by side. They're as much one as they are the two people," he said.
Family members say the Heils looked forward to traveling in their retirement.
The candelight vigil starts at 7 p.m.