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Chilean miners asked Pope Francis to celebrate Mass in a mine

2015-10-15

It's been five years since a group of Chilean miners was rescued after being trapped for 70 days in a collapsed mine. And now, to mark the occasion of their rescue, they've gone from deep in the earth to the heavens. They met with Pope Francis.

LUIS URZUA
"I give thanks for this second chance to be with a Pope. In 2013, I was with Pope Benedict XVI and I was proud that he would receive us and give us his hand.”

RICHARD VILLARROEL
"It was a beautiful experience to be alongside the Pope who inspires so much peace and calm.”

Following a mining accident, they remained trapped underground for 70 days. In the first two weeks they ran low on food, air, and hope. But they were found and crews began to search for a way rescue them. It was still difficult underground.

Pope Francis greeted them and praised the group as an example of people who struggle, people with hope.

POPE FRANCIS
"I believe that any of you would be capable of coming here and saying what hope means. Thank you for trusting in God.”

Most of the miners were believers and their faith helped guide them through the difficult time. Every anniversary of the rescue reminds them of how the event completely changed their lives.

RICHARD VILLARROEL
"I spoke to God a lot, I prayed a lot, I prayed to God for my family and for my son to be fine. The beginning was terrible. We mechanics were three meters from the first collapse.”

LUIS URZUA
"For 70 days we lived underground. For 70 days we lived alongside death, but we always lived with hope, with the idea that we could be rescued.”

Each miner received a rosary from Pope Francis. And they gave him a miner's helmet. But that's not all: they also invited the Pope to visit the mine where they were trapped underground.

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