Inmates from Brasilia's prisons are helping Brazil prepare to welcome the youth who will arrive for this July's World Youth Day.
Paulo Fernando Melo, vice-president of the National Pro-Life and Pro-Family Association and one of the partner proprietors of Jabuti Religious Articles (www.lojajabiuti.com.br), explained to ZENIT that some of the religious products to be used at the WYD are being prepared by inmates.
"It's about putting into practice the truths contained in Saint Matthew's Gospel (25:36): 'I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me,'" Melo said. "An important opportunity for them can be to learn the crafting of religious articles. And it might be useful for them when they return to society."
Some 50 men and 30 women have been trained for the project, in which they work six-hour days four days a week. The prisoners are crafting rosaries, bracelets, and other articles to be used in the WYD packages.
Melo noted that the prisoners' sentences can be reduced through the work program. The inmates also have meditation and prayer during the program.
"Our intention is to spread this program to other prisons, to increase the number of prisoners in Brasilia who wish to take part, and to motivate other businesses so that they will establish work associations with inmates and awaken the desire to help in initiatives of this sort," Melo said.
He added that after WYD, the plan is to teach the inmates how to make vestments, habits, veils and other clothing items of the Catholic liturgical tradition.
[With the contribution of Thacio Siqueira]
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