Pope Assures Prayers for Trapped Chilean Miners

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is promising his prayers for the 33 Chilean miners trapped since Aug. 5.

The Pope recalled the plight of the miners during Spanish-language greetings to the crowds who gathered with him at Castel Gandolfo to pray the midday Angelus.

He expressed his "particular affection for the miners who are trapped in the San Jose mine in the Chilean region of Atacama" and he said that he commends them and their families to the intercession of St. Lawrence, patron of miners.

The miners were discovered alive last week (17 days after being trapped) when they tied a note to a drill that was looking for them. However, at 2,300 feet (700 meters) below ground, it is estimated that it will take three to four months to dig a shaft wide enough to pull the men out. Digging was supposed to begin today, though the search is on for a faster solution.

The Pontiff assured the miners of his "spiritual closeness and his continuous prayers, so that they maintain calm as they await a happy fulfillment of the work being done for their rescue."