The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference have released a video to promote Catholic Prison Chaplaincy and the work of the Church in our prisons.
Senior Catholic Prison Chaplain Sr Veronica Casey pbvm said, ‘This video gives a sense of what it’s like meeting with those within our prison system. A prison chaplain’s role is to journey with inmates as they encounter the challenges of incarceration and separation from loved ones and whānau and come to terms with the harm they have done. Chaplains do this through being the face of Christ in the prison.’
Interviews with four prison chaplains give insights into their experiences working among communities within prisons. As well as offering day-to-day pastoral care, access to the Sacraments, communion and other church services, the chaplains also ensure prisoners have access to Bibles, religious materials and spiritual literature.
Parishes and community groups are encouraged to help in prison ministry, such as being part of a support group for chaplains, visiting prisons, helping to lead Sunday services, companioning the Seasons for Growth programme or prayer. Parishioners are encouraged to welcome and support those released from prison into their church and community, and to actively support those in and recently out of prison together with their families.
Since 1987 the number of people in New Zealand prisons has trebled. The rate of imprisonment in New Zealand is far above all other OECD countries apart from USA.
The video is online at: youtu.be/3k2TG4MPxU0
For more information about chaplaincy, volunteering or providing parish or community group support contact Sr Veronica Casey or ph 027 523 3983.
Published in WelCom August 2019