36th Prison Awareness Week to be celebrated from Oct. 23-29  

The Catholic Churches in the Philippines observance the 36th National Prison Awareness Week from October 23-29, 2023. The theme for this year is “The Correctional Community: Journeying Together in Mutual Support on a Mission of Love.”

Military Ordinariate of the Philippines Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio led the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Monday, October 23 to open the Prison Awareness Week at the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines chapel (CBCP) in Intramuros, Manila.

Bishop Florencio who is also the incoming chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) said that the commemoration of Prison Awareness Week is a show of support to the church’s prison ministry especially to all the Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) that they are also children of God.

“Itong one week na celebration ng prison awareness ito ay mahalaga para sa atin na meron tayong mga kapatid na PDL na nandoon sa kulungan, hindi man siguro nila ginusto ang mga ito ngunit sa mga ginagawa natin siguro yun ang nangyari sa kanila, ngunit hindi natin ibig sabihin na nawawala sila sa syudad kasi sila din po ay mga tao katulad natin, nilikha ng Diyos, minahal ng Diyos so dapat mayroong support din tayo doon lalong lalo na coming from yung mga taong may generous heart,” Bishop Florencio told Radio Veritas.

Fr. Nezelle O. Lirio, Executive Secretary of the (CBCP-ECPPC) stressed the important role of faithful in its mission to value the life and dignity of those who are in prison.

“Sa kabila po ng pagkakaiba-iba po natin at pagkakanya-kanya, nagkakaroon po tayo ng mutual support dahil mayroong love. Mayroon po tayong misyon ng pagmamahal at lalong-lalo na ang misyon na ito ay ang misyon po natin sa Diyos at ang misyon po natin sa mga kapatid natin na nasa mga bilangguan, yung mga PDLs na tinatawag po natin. At muli kagaya po ng sabi ni Pope Francis ‘Courage, Jesus is expecting great things from us’ at gawin po natin yung inaasahan po na ito ng ating Panginoon sa atin sa pamamagitan po ng pagmimisyon, ng pagmamahal,” said Fr. Lirio.

Aimed to intensify the mission of the ministry to support the welfare of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), CBCP-ECPPC prepared a series of activities for the celebration including a Solidarity Mass with Female and Provincial Persons Deprived of Liberty, Service Conscious Seminar for Corrections Personnel and a visit to some prisoners in jail.

On October 29, Prison Awareness Sunday, Legaspi Bishop Joel Baylon and Chairman of CBCP-ECPPC will preside over the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Cathedral) at ten in the morning.

In 1987, the CBCP-ECPPC set the last Sunday in October as Prison Awareness Sunday to raise awareness of the welfare and condition of prisoners throughout the country. It also serves as a platform to help people understand the challenges faced by individuals in jail. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)



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