Rosaries blessed personally by Pope Benedict XVI were received by family members on behalf of each of the miners buried far under Chile's northern desert. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, who delivered the gifts, noted how the adversity has brought Chileans closer together.
The Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago celebrated the Eucharist with family members of the 33 trapped miners on Thursday. Sunday will mark one month since the San Jose mine shaft collapsed, leaving them trapped half-a-mile underground.
At Mass, the cardinal underscored the Pope's spiritual support for the miners and their families, which was made known during the Angelus last Sunday. In that message, the Holy Father assured them of his prayers for them to remain calm and for rescue efforts to reach a "happy conclusion."
Cardinal Errazuriz explained to family members that Pope Benedict also wished to give each of them the gift of a rosary to show his affection and concern.
Reflecting on the overall situation brought about by the collapsed mine shaft, Cardinal Errazuriz said before Mass that it is "impressive how this fact has united all of us as a family and there is nobody in Chile who isn't following what is happening to them day-to-day."
He praised the faith of the miners and the strength, happiness, solidarity and discipline they have shown in the face of difficulty. Noting also the collaboration of so many people and the great efforts that are being made to save the miners, the cardinal said that many important tasks could be taken on in the nation "with that spirit of solidarity."
Praising the mass mobilization to rescue the miners, he said, "This effort proclaims the value of all human life, which is priceless."