The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is holding, from November 7-8, at Palazzo San Calisto, Rome, an international conference on Catholic Prison Pastoral Care, attended by prison chaplains, representatives of organizations engaged in providing assistance to detainees, and members of this section of episcopal conferences from the five continents. The Conference will dedicate a session to each one of the problems and characteristics of this area of pastoral care in America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania, and participants will be received in audience by the Holy Father.
According to a note issued by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, “In many local churches, social ministry does not receive enough attention, and nor does Catholic prison pastoral care. We recognize the diversity of situations and challenges that such prison pastoral care assumes, which includes the spiritual and material attention to those incarcerated, their families, of those who have already served their sentences and regained their freedom, as well as the processes of reconciliation with the victim of the crime. Most of the Conferences of Bishops and Dioceses place prison pastoral care within the section of social ministry, or in some cases, it constitutes an independent commission.
“Some of the ecclesial bodies dedicated to this pastoral service have pointed out to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Integral Development the need to receive support and guidance for this important work, especially in the face of the difficulties they experience in their work. One of the main challenges is the lack of support from diocesan communities to these brothers and sisters in need.
“We therefore believe that this meeting will be an opportunity to meet the different people responsible for this pastoral ministry, while fostering acquaintance with the Dicastery and creating a stable and progressive link with prison pastoral care in different countries, as well as to know more about the actual situation and the needs of prison pastoral care in the different countries, to learn about some responses that have been developed to the various challenges of this pastoral ministry, and to know the initiatives in progress and propose other initiatives of prayer and solidarity in favour of the incarcerated and victims of violence.”