Chile: chaplain says miners were 'gripped by faith'

Chilean miners with statue of St Lorenzo, their patron saint

Chilean miners with statue of St Lorenzo, their patron saint

Rev Alfredo Cooper, chaplain to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, says that Chile has been gripped by spiritual fervour in the aftermath of the miners' rescue and urges Britain to come back to God.

Rev Alfredo, who saw the miners after their release, said all 33 men emerged from the mine where they were trapped for 69 days with either a new or renewed faith in God.

In a phone interview with Premier Radio today, he said:  "Many were Catholics, but many went down without any faith at all, many were nominal in their faith. And they all say this: 'We were not 33, we were 34 because Jesus Christ was with us down there.' "

He added: "They had been praying daily for deliverance so they will testify had it not been for God we would not be here. There was a flag up in the plaza yesterday saying, 'Only God did this, so they will testify to a man, this is the extraordinary thing, they have all come up professing faith."

Rev Alfredo's also had a message for Britain. He said: "There's a perverse unbelief there that is totally unwarranted. Even people like Stephen Hawkins say it's quite possible to have faith. It's reasonable to have faith if you wish to and I understand he's sneaking into churches now and again. There's no reason scientifically why you can't have faith, so believe."

He was cheered again and again while on stage during an all-night, non-stop party in Copiapo yesterday, with "the ingredient of faith, miracle and the centre of it all."

Rev Alfredo  told Premier presenter Marcus Jones that faith and prayer were central to how President Pinera handled the crisis: "When they first vanished, we didn't know whether they were alive or dead. So outside of the mine the role of faith and prayer was central. The President called for an emergency prayer meeting. We prayed in the presidential palace. We left their photos on the altar in the chapel in the palace. That prayer meeting was attended by all the ministers and two weeks later they were found."

 Source: Premier Radio

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