The Chilean Miners and their spouses recently made an eight-day pilgrimage of thanks to the Holy Land as guests of the Israel Ministry of Tourism. They embarked upon a spiritual and highly emotional journey, visiting various Christian holy sites.
Summarizing their once-in-a-lifetime experience, Chilean miner Luis Urzua expressed the gratitude of his fellow 24 miners and their spouses for their pilgrimage to Israel. “I thank you from all my heart for your warm welcome and I also thank God for blessing me with this visit to the Holy Land. Thank you for praying for us. May God bless you forever. Shalom.”
The miners and their spouses were greeted in the Old City by Church leaders and met with Western Wall Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. He welcomed them at a special ceremony at the Western Wall Plaza and invited the miners to place a note of prayer between the stones of the Western Wall.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, many of the pilgrims cried as they knelt in prayer, and told of the emotion and relief they felt to be able to worship and give thanks in the Holy Land after their miraculous rescue.
Jose Henriquez, known as the "pastor" of the group said, "We are here in awe, it is an honor to be here. And we hope we can comprehend fully what every place means and that we take this experience home with us."
The Miners continued to the Garden Tomb, where they participated in a ceremony of bread and wine. They also visited the historically and spiritually significant sites of Bethlehem and the Sea of Galilee.
In a very moving ceremony, Richard Godoy baptized his four-month old son in the waters of the Jordan River. Godoy said, “Now that my baby has been baptized in the name of God in the River Jordan, I feel content.”
Continuing on their tour, they visited several of Christianity’s most important sites in Northern Israel, including the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, Capernaum, Mount Precipice. In the south, they floated in the Dead Sea and visited Masada.
From the Holy Land, we send the miners and their families our very best wishes for good health and prosperity.