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Pope prays for trapped Chile miners

Pope Benedict XVI says he is praying constantly for the Chilean miners trapped underground and urged them to remain calm as efforts continue to free them.

Benedict assured the 33 men and their families that he was spiritually close to them and was praying for a "happy conclusion" to their ordeal.

The men have been trapped in a mine below the Atacama Desert since August 5. Chilean officials say it could take months to drill an escape tunnel to free them.

Speaking in Spanish, Benedict said he was thinking "with particular affection" about the miners, "assuring them of my spiritual closeness and my continual prayers, so that they remain serene in hopes of a happy conclusion to the work that's being done to rescue them."

The pontiff delivered the comments to pilgrims gathered for his traditional Sunday blessing in the courtyard of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo in the Alban hills south of Rome.

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