In an Oct. 14 statement, the Bishops’ Conference of Chile expressed their “immense joy” and gratitude to the Lord “for the successful rescue of the 33 miners who were trapped” in the San Jose copper mine.
The bishops noted that throughout the long ordeal, “We joined in prayer with millions in Chile and around the world. We especially thank Pope Benedict XVI for his special closeness and concern.”
The miners had been trapped under a half-mile of rock deep beneath Chile's Atacama Desert since Aug. 5. Rescue workers originally projected that the miners would be free in late December, however they were all rescued on Oct. 13.
“We are happy to see and hear these miners, their loved ones, government officials and so many people all over Chile thanking God our Father for this gift, for this miracle that he has blessed us with. We appreciate the admirable efforts of the technicians, professionals and other workers, from home and abroad, who contributed to the preparation and execution of the rescue.”
The bishops encouraged Chileans to continue “praying for the 33 miners of Atacama and their families. May this re-encounter with life be an opportunity for them and for all of us to appreciate the most precious things we have: life, our dignity as children of God, faith, the treasure of the family, the value of justly compensated work and working conditions that are always safe and decent.”
“These 33 brothers of ours, with their testimony of unity and solidarity, have also brought together all Chileans. Their strength and hope invite us to work together, as a society, to ‘rescue’ so many who are poor and marginalized, so that we can make Chile ‘a place for all’.”