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Prayer service held for missing Loyola University student

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Posted at 12:40 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 18:54:07-04

Only on campus for half an hour after being away on retreat, Dr. Donelda Cook knew she needed to take a moment.

“…tragic despair, fear. It’s a very scary time. It’s what anyone would be feeling,” the vice president of student development at Loyola University said.

She needed a moment to pray for one of her students – Jimi Patrick, a rising sophomore who hasn’t been seen for a week.

Police in Pennsylvania think Patrick and three other men are missing under suspicious circumstances.

Authorities said they've recovered several pieces of evidence from a sprawling farm property and elsewhere while investigating their disappearance.

RELATED: Search continues for 4 men on farmland, Loyola student missing

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub told reporters Wednesday that some of the tips they've received are "bearing fruit." He wouldn't say what evidence has been recovered but did say it didn't include human remains.

Police have focused their search on a farm in Solebury and have utilized several law enforcement agencies, heavy construction equipment and cadaver dogs.

Police have called the 20-year-old son of the farm owners a person of interest in the case.

See also: DA: Man tried to sell missing man's car; 4 men still missing

The missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick disappeared a week ago. The other three disappeared Friday.

Patrick was part of Loyola University's class of 2020. 

“We draw our hope, we draw our comfort from our spiritual prayer and Jimi Patrick’s family – that’s what they asked of us when they notified us that he was missing, please pray for us,” Dr. Cook said.

So that’s what students and staff at the Jesuit Catholic school did.

More than 50 people filled the pews inside the university’s chapel praying for all of the men’s safe return.

“It’s our need to be hopeful and to keep together and to be mindful that this is a school that takes each individual student seriously. You’re not a number here and we want to be with you in the good times and in bad,” Father Brian Linnane, the university’s president said minutes after the service ended.

A constant stream of support, not only for a family in need, but a student who’s one of the university’s brightest.

“He had a very successful and he is poised for great success at Loyola. He’s a Dean’s List student, no conduct issues,” Linnane said.

Feeding into the mystery as to what happened to Jimi and the three others in Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.