SAL­FORD DIO­CESE Walk with pris­on­ers has many turns

Glossop Advertiser - - News -

ON Easter Sun­day Bishop John started the morn­ing in the same way he started Christ­mas Day.

He went to HMP Manch­ester to say Mass for the pris­on­ers.

This in­volves say­ing three masses in three dif­fer­ent wings.

Many peo­ple will be sur­prised that it is within the prison not the Cathe­dral that you will find the Bishop on Easter Sun­day.

When asked why, Bishop John re­sponds with the sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion: “We must con­tinue to walk with all peo­ple along their jour­ney and do all we can to com­mu­ni­cate our Gospel Val­ues par­tic­u­larly to those who may feel ex­cluded or alone.”

This view was ex­pressed by an­other of our prison chap­lains when he re­counted the story: “A few days ago I bumped into a cou­ple of pris­on­ers walk­ing down what we call main stress back to their wing.

“One of them said to me….will you walk with us and so I ac­com­pa­nied them to the wing.

“After, it struck me that that re­quest summed up very well what the life and min­istry of a prison chap­lain is.

“We are asked to walk with pris­on­ers whether they have a faith or none at all from the mo­ment they come in through Re­cep­tion right to the day of their dis­charge. And some­times even be­yond.”

Prison chap­lains usu­ally work in ec­u­meni­cal teams, most have chap­lains from the ma­jor re­li­gions.

They are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that pris­on­ers are able to prac­tise their faith and cel­e­brate their feasts and fes­ti­vals.

As well as faith spe­cific ac­tiv­i­ties they also have what is called statu­tory du­ties such as see­ing the new re­cep­tions on a daily ba­sis to make sure that their re­li­gious reg­is­tra­tion is recorded cor­rectly, re­spond­ing to ap­pli­ca­tions re­quest­ing to speak to a chap­lain fol­low­ing a be­reave­ment or fam­ily is­sues and those who are about to be dis­charged.

Many pris­on­ers do turn to their Faith when they are in prison. They find it a force in their lives which en­cour­ages them to un­der­stand that there is real hope for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and their be­com­ing val­ued mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

Once a pris­oner comes to re­alise their own dig­nity then it is our hope that they will see and ap­pre­ci­ate the dig­nity in oth­ers.

That is why we are pre­pared to walk with them, to spend time with them, to lis­ten, to pray with them.

Our walk with pris­on­ers has many turns on the way but with the help of God we walk with them along their jour­ney.

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