Prisoners’ Sunday

PRISONERS’ SUNDAY Today is Prisoners’ Sunday when we mark the National Day of Prayer and Action for Prisoners and their Families. It comes at a time of immense challenge for our Church, our Nation and our World. Today we are called to direct our thoughts and prayers to prisoners, their families and children. Canon Paul Douthwaite, Chaplain for Prisons writes: “From freely browsing in the shops to meeting friends for a meal, from partaking of leisure activities to practicing our faith and more besides, freedom was very much something we took for granted. Due to the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown that was imposed upon our country in an effort to save lives, for a number of weeks everybody in some way has had their freedom curtailed. The removal of our freedom, albeit for a relatively short time, has resulted in many long-term consequences. As human beings it is only when something is taken from us that we can begin to see its value or miss it. Each and every one of us, having experienced the ‘lockdown’ now have a renewed sense of value for the freedom we enjoy as human beings and moreover the freedom we enjoy as the children of God. In today’s Gospel Jesus makes use of a parable to remind the people of Israel that they had begun to take for granted the freedom and generosity they experienced as the children of God. On this Prisoners’ Sunday, as a Church, we are invited to be aware of those whose freedom has been removed by the justice system; those whom society may regard as the less noteworthy. We are called to be mindful that, despite their wrongdoing they are still children of God. Whilst the events of this year have had an impact on society at large, prisoners and their families have not been exempted from the turmoil which we have all experienced. For the duration of the national lockdown and beyond prisoners have had removed what little privileges they had, including the freedom to practice their faith and family visits’. Canon Paul invites us, with a renewed sense of value for our freedom, on this Prisoners Sunday, to pray for those who have had their freedom removed and most especially for the families and loved ones of prisoners who feel the effects of their sentence. PACT, the national Catholic charity continues to support prisoners and their families and we are asked to commend their work to our prayers and support. PACT (Prison Advice and Care Trust) and it’s staff and beneficiaries will be grateful for any support you may be able to offer. Do contact their friendly team on 020 3031 6867 or email parish.action@prisonadvie.org.uk for more information.