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CURRENT ISSUE:  October 18, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Alarm over loss of Christians
Survey shows Catholics have
knowledge gaps
Chileans united in prayer
as miners were rescued

Miner Osman Araya greets his wife after being hoisted to the surface through nearly half a mile of solid rock in a small capsule.

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) — As miners were pulled one-by-one from the tunnel in the San Jose mine in Copiapo, where they’d awaited rescue since Aug. 5, Chile’s churches were hosting round-the-clock vigils, special Masses appealing for the men’s safety, and other prayers of thanksgiving.

Miner Mario Gomez, 63, the oldest of the 33 trapped miners, prays as he arrives on the surface after being rescued in Copiapo, Chile, Oct. 13, following a two-month ordeal.
At a Mass that began near midnight Oct. 13, as the first miner was being brought to the surface, Santiago Auxiliary Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel said the lives of the 33 miners should be seen as a sign of the need all people have for redemption.

“There is no saint without a past, nor sinner without a future,” he reminded the congregation in El Sagrario chapel next to Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

An elaborate capsule system was pulling the miners one at a time from the tunnel where they were trapped in a collapse of the mine for 69 days. Family members, medical personnel, politicians, reporters and well-wishers were there to meet each man as he left the capsule that drew him to the surface.

As The Voice went to press on Oct. 13, the capsule operation was nearing completion.

Prayer vigils and Eucharistic adoration were to continue in churches around Chile until the last miner was pulled from the tunnel, Chilean Church leaders said.

“This is a propitious moment for the entire Church to unite in faith and hope,” Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, told reporters Oct. 12.

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