Prayers for the four abducted Christian peace activists in Iraq continued as their families and governments sought word on their condition Monday – two days after a deadline set by their kidnappers to kill them.
"We all look to each other and offer a kind smile or a warm hug whenever that other person feels that they can't handle it and that happens quite a bit right now," Ed Loney, brother of Canadian hostage Jim Loney, told The Canadian Press from the family home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
"It's a pretty delicate situation and we're trying to not beat ourselves up and to remain hopeful."
The group responsible for the capture, the self-proclaimed “Swords of Righteousness,” made no contact in the two days following the Saturday deadline they initially placed for the lives of the Christian Peacemaker Team workers. The group said they would kill the workers unless all Iraqi prisoners were released.
Some churches across Canada, U.S. and Britain were filled with prayerful congregants seeking the safety of the captured four.
Bernard Burns, priest at Precious Blood Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie which the Loney family attends, said his church had been jammed-packed with well-wishers and worshippers on Sunday.
"The grief that they're going through - I don't know how much more they can take," Burns said as he prepared his third Sunday mass and prayer for the hostages, according to the Canadian Press.
Meanwhile, Ed Loney said he was comforted by the global outpouring of support for the captives.
"Whether my brother comes back to us alive or not, he is going to leave a legacy," he said. "People who struggle for peace and human rights are going to be heartened by his efforts. They're going to be inspired by what he's done."
Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups have feverishly released statements in the past week calling for the release of the Christian Peacemaker Team members, who were snatched at gunpoint in Baghdad on Nov. 26.
Beside Loney, the other captives are: Canadian Harmeet Sooden, 32; American Tom Fox, 54; and Briton Norman Kember, 74.
On Sunday, Katherine Fox, daughter of Virginian Tom Fox, said she partially understands the concerns of the Iraqis but that "these grievances" will "not be resolved by taking my father’s life," according to CNN.