The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

A beautiful lesson in charity in Chile


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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posted October 10, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Sincerely hope all of them are brought to the surface safely! What an ordeal for them as well as their families.

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posted October 11, 2010 at 5:40 am

Well, that’s interesting, because The Telegraph reported on October 9:
“Indeed, there was even an argument about who would be the last miner rescued – not because of a noble insistence that others should make it to safety first but out of the desire to hold the record for the longest period spent underground.”

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posted October 11, 2010 at 9:16 am

My husband is one of 37 men that will be ordained to the Diaconate for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in February of 2011. One of our classmates owns Drillers Supply International that is part of Plan B that completed the rescue tunnel. Greg has been in Chile for over a week and was present when the tunnel was completed. For the past four years we have heard that the Deacons are a bridge to the community. This week I realized how true that statement really is! They work and live in the community and much of their ministry is done outside the Church’s doors.

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Eric Pinola

posted October 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

I do not know the hearts of other men; but for ME, it would be a mixture of charity and a sizable desire to get the record for longest time spent underground:)
I feel like God would understand though; he created the competitive desires that we have, and it’s not 100% selfish… are shooting to be last.

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