As in many other parts of the world, the prisons in Latin America are hopelessly overfilled and conditions within them are extremely hard.
For example, the prison in Callao, Peru, was designed for 1500 prisoners but currently holds 5,600.
For these prisoners the Catholic prison outreach which is supported by ACN is a real blessing. Twice a week, those who wish to participate come together for a joint Lectio Divina, while Holy Mass is celebrated every week for a congregation of up to 800 prisoners. And there are also Holy Masses for the major feasts of the Church year.
Bishop José Luis del Palacio Peréz-Medel has himself frequently visited the prison. When he travelled to Rome to meet Pope Francis in 2018, he brought with him a letter from the prisoners. The Pope answered the letter personally and encouraged them all, despite all past failures and weaknesses, to believe and trust in the help and mercy of Christ.
A vital and indispensable part of this outreach, which helps those concerned to a better and deeper knowledge of God‘s love and mercy, is the reading of Holy Scripture. But needless to say, the inmates and their families are too poor to afford a Bible.
Already in 2017, thanks to the help of ACN, 500 Bibles were distributed among them. Now, thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we are once again able to contribute 5,000 Euros, so that another 500 copies of the sacred scriptures can be made available for the prison outreach programme.
For all the inmates this has been a great joy and consolation, and the bishop has written to us to say that his priests working in the prison ministry are also delighted. The Bibles are used for the sessions of Lectio Divina and for catechetical instruction of those preparing for baptism.
Our heartfelt thanks to all who have helped!