KHARAGPUR - CALCUTTA PROVINCE
«I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU CAME TO SEE ME»
Ajoint effort to reach out through acts of corporal works of mercy under the aegis of «Don Bosco Prison Ministry», we went to meet about 1500 prisoners who are behind the high walls and the heavy iron gates of «Mednipore Central Correctional Home». We were a team of 30: the two priests of the parish along with some members of the Parish Council, the Missionaries of Charity Sisters and we Sisters of Maria Bambina, in charge of the «Christopher Day School» along with seven of our students and two teachers.
After making sure that our personal belongings were surrendered at the entrance, as it is established, we were accompanied by the officers on duty to the wards to meet the inmates. Words were quite inadequate to reassure those blank looks, tearful faces and sighing expressions: «We are unlucky!».
Ladies with their toddlers talking about their experience of the long arm of Criminal Law moved our hearts to tears. We talked together with some convicts serving imprisonment for several years who were the majority, others awaiting trial under the slow moving of the Indian Judicial system.
Singing psalms and spiritual songs we proclaimed the name of Jesus; students entertained them with dances and songs and presented token gifts like sweets, clothes and detergents.
The Superintendent of the Home was especially accommodative and appreciative, inviting us to make regular visits.
«Come again; gifts can be overlooked; your presence is precious!»: were the emotional parting words of the inmates which still echoes in our hearts.
CASTELVETRANO (TP) - ITALIA PROVINCE
MEETING THE PRISONERS
The chaplain of the district prison, Fr Jean Paul, the Sisters of Charity and the volunteers of the diocesan Caritas were looking forward to carry out a project to help the youth to broaden their horizons towards the problems of the prison condition and to offer a chance to the prisoners to get out from their social and relational isolation. Our community welcomed joyfully the gift of this experience.
The volunteers organized some activities with the operators: jewellery workshops with the prisoners, a Lectio upon the gospel of Luke, the good Samaritan; some groups wrote a composition using the letters of the word CARCERE (prison), developing the following subjects:
and not less important the Celebration of the Eucharist.
The listening of the witness of the commander- in-chief, De Maio Linda, of the instructor Laura and that of a prisoner, Giuseppe, helped us all to free our hearts from unfounded prejudice.
This is what the volunteers state: Entering into a prison also for a few hours, is a great experience for me; in fact, physiologically I feel worn out;
but in spite of the crimes committed by the prisoners encountered, I have always considered and continue to consider them as persons, who, even if they committed crucial mistakes, they are always persons, who deserve trust (Gianfilippo).
This experience helps me to think about the many other types of prisoners living outside the prisons; I mean ‘we’ who consider ourselves free persons (Antonella).
It has been a positive experience, both for the way with which the young ones approached this reality, often kept ‘in silence’ as it is considered shameful, and both for the prisoners who feel loved and that they are human beings as the others (Franca).
In those days the community was glad to offer hospitality, to talk about our daily service in this sector carried out by our sisters, to share in the Eucharistic and intercessional prayers for the prisoners, our brothers in faith and those who haste to visit them. Our hearts were full of joy and we were particularly grateful to the Lord and to each other, for having programmed together these moments of welcoming, sharing, joy, family spirit, high-quality humanity...
... CONTINUATION OF THE RICONSTRUCTION ...
I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU CAME TO SEE ME
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