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Memorial Scheduled for Parents of Albertville Teacher

A special Mass to remember the lives of Barbara and Gerald Heil, the parents of Big Woods Elementary teacher Aaron Heil, will be held next Saturday in White Bear Lake.

Family and friends will gather Saturday, Feb. 18, to remember the lives of Gerald and Barbara Heil, lost in the Friday, Jan. 13 crash of the Costa Concordia cruiseliner of the Tuscan Coast of Italy.

The Heil Family, including Aaron Heil, a St. Michael elementary school teacher, announced plans for the memorial service at St. Pius X Church in White Bear Lake. Services will begin at 10 a.m.

"We again would like to thank everyone for all the prayers, cards, and support you have shown us," the Heils posted on a family blog, created days after the tragic accident that killed more than 30 people. "If for any reason, friends and family need to get in touch with any of us but are unsure of the best way, please feel to email us at the following address heilfamilyupdate@gmail.com."

Gerald and Barbara Heil were dedicated members of Pope Pius X Catholic Church in White Bear Lake, where friends and parishoners have been holding vigil and prayer since the ship ran aground with more than 4,200 passengers and crew on Friday, Jan. 13.

The search for bodies was called off Feb. 1. Seventeen people have been found, 16 are presumed missing.

The Heil siblings said their faith, and the faithfulness of their parents, was of some comfort following Tuesday's news that Italian officials had stopped the search for those still missing.

"As we struggle to come to grips with this tragedy, we find comfort knowing Mom and Dad are now in a better place free from any worries. They have always been obedient to God’s plan and now we must do the same," they wrote.

Families and friends of Aaron Heil, have rotated duties assisting the Albertville family, bringing dinners to the home and praying at local churches.

The family has not commented on the incident beyond the website they created in the days following the accident.

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