The Deacon's Bench


A makeshift altar near the mineshaft in Chile

These opening paragraphs from a report on the trapped miners in Chile are a homily waiting to be given:

Engineers Sunday rushed to reinforce a shaft through which to hoist 33 men trapped over two months down a mine in Chile, as the men below argued over who should be let up first.

“I would like to illustrate what they are going through today with a conversation we had yesterday,” Health Minister Jaime Manalich told a press conference near the San Jose mine.

“I questioned them and mentioned we were working on an order in which they would be brought out. I said the order would be determined by technical factors.

“And what was their reaction? ‘Mr. Minister, that’s fine but I want to go last please.’ And then another guy said, ‘No, my friend, I said that I was going to be the last one up.’ ‘No, no, really — I want to go last, please,’ another guy started saying.”

By being able to put aside their needs and wanting their colleagues to have a chance at freedom and fresh air first, “they have had a really commendable spirit, of solidarity and commitment to their friends,” Manalich stressed.

Read on.

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