Remembering the 32 Chileans and one Bolivian trapped for nearly a month in copper mine in northern Chile, the Holy Father prayed on Sunday for the intercession of the patron saint of miners for their safe extraction.
The 33 miners have been stuck underground since the shaft collapsed on Aug. 5, enclosing them nearly 2,300 ft. underground. First contact with them was made 17 days after the accident cut them off from the world above.
Since Aug. 22, they have been receiving vital supplies, including air and water, and communicating through what has been called an "umbilical cord," a 6-inch wide supply channel from the surface.
In his Spanish-language greeting after the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father remembered them "with particular affection," commending them and their relatives to the intercession of St. Lawrence.
He assured his "spiritual closeness" and continued prayers that they "maintain serenity in the hope for a happy conclusion to the work being carried out for their rescue."
According to a Sunday report from the Spanish-language news provider elperiodico.com, psychologists are in contact with the miners, working with them to confront the difficulties posed by the situation. The paper also reported that the miners could be freed before the end of October, much sooner than the original estimate of four months.