W. Virginia bishop says Mass for victims of coal mine explosion

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.
Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.


On Tuesday Bishop Michael J. Bransfield presided at a Mass for the victims of the West Virginia coal mine explosion. He said the disaster was a “stark reminder” of the dangers of mining.

An explosion Monday at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed at least 25 people and critically injured two workers. Four more were missing. Toxic methane gas still required days to be vented, dimming hopes for finding any survivors.

Bishop Bransfield said the news of the disaster was “shocking,” according to a statement from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and all of us in West Virginia are in shock,” he added. “For the hard working people of this state, this is unfortunately another in a long history of mining tragedies here at home and a stark reminder of the dangers those in mining face each day.”

“Our faith is in Jesus Christ, whose resurrection we just celebrated this weekend. May our faith in the Risen Lord support the families and communities affected by this tragedy. May our God watch over and comfort them."

The Mass took place at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Whitesville. The administrator of the parish, Fr. Soosai Arokiadass, concelebrated Mass with the bishop.

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