By Elizabeth Tenety
Once feared dead, 33 trapped Chilean miners began to emerge Tuesday night after more than two months underground.
Among the necessities that sustained them 2000 feet down were food, vitamins, supplemental air and, according to many reports, their faith.
Prayers and well wishes from around the world reached the miners. Pope Benedict prayed for them after a mass in August, and the Vatican sent blessed rosaries “as a sign of the Pope’s closeness with them.” Priests and ministers visited the site in the predominantly Catholic country. The Baptist Press reported that two miners “accepted Christ” during their ordeal. The Seventh-day Adventists sent mini-bibles down to the crew, highlighting Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit … and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”
The ninth man to emerge from the mine was Mario Gomez, a 63-year old who, CNN reported, “became the group’s spiritual leader and requested a crucifix and statuettes of saints so the men could construct a shrine.”
Gomez knelt in prayer after he safely escaped Wednesday, a graceful moment captured on film.
The Washington Post’s Juan Forero and Jonathan Franklin noted that Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, “prayed with relatives at Camp Hope, the makeshift settlement on the surface of the mine.”
Before the rescue began, Pinera reflected on the meaning of the moment:
“When the first miner emerges safe and sound, I hope all the bells of all the churches of Chile ring out forcefully, with joy and hope. Faith has moved mountains.”
Have you watched coverage of the miners’ rescue and reunions? Is their survival a religious miracle or a technological triumph? Have emergencies in your life moved you toward -or away from -faith?