Benedict XVI Praying for Chilean Miners

Rescue Operation Under Way

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2010, ( Benedict XVI is praying for the 33 Chilean miners who have been stuck deep in a subterranean mine for 69 days as efforts in the South American country are under way to rescue them.

During the weekly general audience Benedict XVI said in Spanish: «To his divine goodness I continue to commend with hope the miners of the Atacama region, in Chile.»

A rescue operation began at midnight in Chile, and by the time the Pope had finished the general audience, seven miners had been freed. By early afternoon in Chile, the rescue operation was more than half complete.

The miners have been trapped 700 meters (2,300 feet) underground since a cave-in Aug. 5.

On Oct. 7, their presence was made felt in the Vatican when Jaime Coiro, director of communications for the Episcopal Conference of Chile, presented the Pontiff with a Chilean flag that was signed by all 33 miners.

On Monday, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, invited the nation to prayer. He said in a message that during a visit to the mine earlier this month, 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 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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