Pope Benedict prayed every day for the Chilean miners and their families during their ordeal underground. For the last few days he also kept in his apartment a signed flag they had sent him, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, revealed today.
Writing in 'Octava Dies' - the weekly newspaper of Vatican Television Centre, Fr Frederico explained: "Just days ago, a young Chilean at the end of an audience gave the Pope a Chilean flag bearing the authentic signatures of the 33 miners. Benedict XVI has kept the flag in his apartment, and prayed every day for these men."
The flag was given to Pope Benedict by the Director of Communications and Press of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Jaime Coiro, during an audience granted to participants of the World Congress of Catholic Press.
A miner's wife, Claudio Yáñez, had asked her husband Pedro to collect signatures on a flag to give to a school. Yáñez took two flags - one for the school, and one for Catholic journalists to give to the Pope.
Fr Lombardi said the whole world had followed with great interest the extraordinary action taken in Chile to save lives. "More than one billion people watched on television around the world the operation, demonstrating the power of media".
Pope Benedict publicly prayed for the miners on several occasions since the accident happened.
Source: Episcopal Conference of Chile