Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pope John XXIII and Miners

I grew up knowing the following story, I copied it here from a website ( since it had all of the details.

"In August 1963 when a pair of coal miners were entombed more than 300 feet below the surface following a cave-in inside a mine in Pennsylvania's anthracite region. David Fellin, 58, and Henry "Hank" Throne, 28, seemed destined to die a horrible death because their chance of being rescued was astronomical, probably even worse.

However, when all hope seemed gone, God stepped in, flicked His finger and, all of a sudden, Pope John XXIII -- who had died in a hospital in Rome, Italy, 10 weeks before the cave-in -- appeared to Fellin and Throne in their pitch-black tomb, radiating a bluish light that cast no shadow.

Pope John, half the age of the old man he was when he passed away, was grinning at the two miners, his arms folded in front of him, and remained inside their subterranean chamber for at least eight full days.
It was in the 14th day of the ordeal that the most incredible mining rescue of all time took place as Throne, then Fellin, were hauled to the surface through a bore hole, wearing football helmets and parachute harnesses.

After being entombed for 14 days -- the first 5 1/2 without any contact whatsoever with the outside world and the last 7 1/2 during a phenomenal rescue operation watched by people around the world in complete fascination --the two miners finally were safe on the surface, a most happy ending that was front-page news in every newspaper throughout the Free World.

We thank You Lord for the miracle of one survivor.

For the West Virginia miners we pray for the repose of their souls and that their families are comforted in their time of grief.

Eternal rest grant unto them O' Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed rest with You forever.

The Coal Miners prayer.
By W.Calvert

Each dawn as we rise, lord we know all to well,
We face only one thing - a pit filled with hell.
To scratch out a living the best that we can,
But deep in the heart, lies the soul of a man.

With black covered faces, and hard calloused hands,
We work the dark tunnels, unable to stand.
To labour and toil as we harvest the coals,
We silently pray "lord please harvest our souls".

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