.- Bishop Gaspar Quintana of Copiapo, Chile presided over a Mass in which he prayed for the timely rescue of the 33 workers trapped in a copper mine. The bishop also offered his spiritual support to the families clinging to the hope of finding their loved ones alive.
The miners have been trapped since August 5, when the San Esteban mine collapsed.
In his homily, Bishop Quintana expressed his wish that the miners be rescued soon and in good health. He also praised the strength exhibited by the families who are waiting outside the collapsed mine for news.
The bishop lamented the accident and appealed to the authorities, businessmen and workers, asking them to be mindful of the safety conditions in which they carry out their tasks, so that events like these may be avoided.
According to information from the Diocese of Copiapo's communications office, Bishop Quintana spent Friday morning at the site of the mine, accompanying the miners' families and learning about the rescue efforts. Then, at night, the vicar general, Father Alejandro Castillo, celebrated a Liturgy of the Word on-site. He was joined by Father Juan Carlos Sanchez and Father Daniel Pauvif, who had been keeping vigil with the people outside the mine.
In a statement to Chile’s Radio Cooperativa, Bishop Quintana addressed the mine's owners and exhorted them to "take seriously" the company’s social responsibility. "I'd ask them to have common sense," he said, "and if they are Christian or Catholic, I'd ask them to consider what a business' social responsibility means seriously."
This implies "a code in which work isn't a good to be sold or bought, but rather its part of the human dignity," declared the prelate.