Who are we listening to in the synodal process? Cardinal Nichols went to Wormwood Scrubs prison particularly to listen to prisoners a few weeks ago. In many parishes, the voices of prisoners and their families may rarely, if ever, be heard – except perhaps on Prisoners’ Sunday. Yet there are more than 90,000 children in England & Wales who have a parent in prison right now.
For Pope Francis, listening to one another, and especially to those on the margins is a necessary part of ‘discerning the signs of the times.’
This Lent Pact, the major Catholic prisons charity, is sharing with parishes a new Stations of the Cross liturgy. The simple text includes the words of prisoners, people with convictions and people who have served a ‘hidden sentence’ alongside a family member in prison. Next month, Bishop Richard Moth, Liaison Bishop for Prisons, will be making the Stations of the Cross using this text, in the chapel of a women’s prison.
We invite you to use the liturgy in your parish or community during Lent. ‘All my life I’d been in this defeated place. I thought I was just a bad person; a bad apple and I was just going to be like that for the rest of my life. Then I came into contact with an addiction programme and I had already been praying…For the first time in my life, I was not just wanting to be a good person but trying to be a good person on a daily basis and having the tools to do it through prayer.’ The human dignity of those among us whose lives have been shaped by their experiences of the criminal justice system, shines through this text. We invite you to truly listen.
You can download the Stations of the Cross liturgy here: Stations of the Cross | Prison Advice and Care Trust
Pact is a pioneering national Catholic charity that supports prisoners, people with convictions, and their children and families. They provide caring and life changing services at every stage of the criminal justice process: in court, in prison, on release, and in the community.
Pact’s vision is of a society in which justice is understood as a process of restoration and healing, in which prisons are used sparingly and as places of learning and rehabilitation, and in which the innate dignity and worth of every human being is valued.
Contact PACT for more information email@example.com
Pic: Cardinal Nichols in dialogue with prisoners at HMP Wormwood © Andy Aitchison