Archbishop moved by mine rescue joy and sadness

The prayers of millions of Australians over the past fortnight have been answered with the successful rescue of Todd Russell and Brant Webb at Beaconsfield in Tasmania yesterday, according to Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle.

Archbishop Doyle, who is in Sydney for a two-week long meeting of Australian Catholic Bishops, said the joy at the rescue of the two men would be mixed with sadness at the death of their colleague Larry Knight.

"As we join together in giving thanks to God for the survival and rescue of Todd and Brant, we must also keep Larry Knight and his family in our thoughts and prayers on this momentous day," Archbishop Doyle said.

"We should also remember all those who have worked so hard in the past two weeks to bring the rescue effort to a successful conclusion, especially the miners who have put their own lives at risk to save two of their colleagues."

Archbishop Doyle paid tribute to the Beaconsfield community and other Australians for their support of the rescue effort.

"This has been quite a remarkable effort by a large number of people who have given help and support freely at a time of great need," he said.

He expressed gratitude to the Catholic community of the area, including Fr Brian Lester, and particularly praised the work of a Beaconsfield pastoral associate, Sr Frances McShane, a Sister of Service from Hobart who has lived and worked in Beaconsfield for more than two years.

"I know that Sr Frances, in particular, has been a special comfort to the Knight family during a most difficult time for them and for the friends and colleagues of Larry Knight."

Archbishop Doyle said he expected that the events at Beaconsfield over the past two weeks would be a focus for Catholic parishes around Tasmania for the rest of this week and especially at Masses this coming weekend.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops has also released a statement expressing their joy at the safe rescue of the trapped miners.

"We give thanks for the courage and strength of the men throughout their two week ordeal," the bishops said.

"We join with all Catholics and people of goodwill in continuing to pray for the people of Beaconsfield as authorities take stock of the magnitude of the mine disaster and the community begins looking to the future."

Joy and sadness at Beaconsfield rescue success (Archdiocese of Hobart 9/5/06)
Catholic Bishops give thanks for safe rescue of miners (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 9/5/06)
During Australian mine drama, town's residents show signs of faith (Catholic News Service 9/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Hobart

Pastoral associate calls finding miners alive "a miracle" (CathNews 4/5/06)

Bishops give thanks for miners (The Courier Mail 10/5/06)

10 May 2006