Church in Chile United in Prayer for Miners

1st of 33 Expected at Surface Today

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SANTIAGO, Chile, OCT. 12, 2010 ( Chileans around the nation will unite in prayer tonight, as a vigil gets under way with an 11 p.m. Mass to pray for the successful rescue of the 33 miners who’ve been trapped underground since Aug. 5.

The first of the 33 was expected to be lifted to the surface later today, where he will be greeted by the Chilean president.

Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, invited the nation to prayer in a message Monday. He said that during a visit to the mine, he had witnessed «the spirit of faith and trust in God of the miners and their families.»

«This is a propitious moment to unite the whole Church in this prayer of faith and hope,» he affirmed.

The bishop visited and celebrated Mass in Camp Hope (where relatives and friends of the miners have congregated) on Oct. 4. He was able to speak with the trapped men and meet with their relatives.

The bishop thanked all those involved in the rescue process, and also criticized the poor working conditions of so many. He said Chile faces the national task of building a country where all enjoy «peace, respect and joy.»
The prelate thanked the miners for their testimony of fortitude and expressed to them the concern and prayer of the whole Church. He urged them not to lose hope and to continue collaborating in their own rescue.

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