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Cardinal urges support for Prisoners’ Sunday

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of Pact, urges public support for Prisoners’ Sunday on October 8. The national Catholic charity aids prisoners and their families, irrespective of faith, aiming to rehabilitate them into society.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has issued a message of support for Prisoners’ Sunday: ‘As President of Pact, I invite you to join with me in supporting Prisoners’ Sunday on October 8 2023. Pact is the national Catholic charity providing support to prisoners and their families. It is good to know that Pact is there for people of all faiths and none, supporting prisoners and their families on our behalf and with our assistance. I encourage you to play your part in this work of the Gospel for the common good of all.’

Pact posts out a Prisoners’ Sunday pack to every parish in England & Wales, arriving around September 18. It contains a poster, bidding prayers, information about our work, and second collection details.

Pact supports people leaving prison in the East Anglia diocese to ‘be restored to the community’. Sometimes people leaving prison tell us that they are afraid or apprehensive about what the future holds. It can be very difficult to make a fresh start, especially knowing that you have a conviction.

Dave*, who works for Pact locally, told us, ‘I’ve been helping Kyle* whose relationship with his family was strained. Kyle felt unable to talk about what he had done because he did not want to cause stress within the family. However, the result was that this increased his own stresses as he did not have the opportunity to discuss issues openly. Kyle did not think he would be comfortable working with Pact. He assumed that it would be similar to working with other agencies; he thought it would be very formal. But Kyle said that once he started his sessions, he found that the Pact team was very friendly and he felt relaxed here. This allowed him to be open in his conversations and take a full part in sessions that can help him turn his life around.’

Dave says that Kyle is eager to participate in all the opportunities available through Pact, as he recognises the benefits. Pact’s work helps people settle back into the community and lead a good life.

Pact’s CEO, Andy Keen-Downs, explains, ‘Our work in prisons and communities across England & Wales ensures that prisoners, children, and families are supported; and their dignity is respected and upheld. Where appropriate, we help families to make a fresh start together and live lives which bear good fruit. By supporting prisoners to be restored to the community, our work makes communities safer; research shows that prisoners who have good family relationships are 39% less likely to return to crime.’

We humbly request that parishes consider taking up a second collection to support the work of Pact in the year ahead. Your support means we can do more for prisoners and their families. You can choose a nearby Sunday for the second collection if that helps.

If you would like someone to speak briefly about Pact’s work at your local Mass on Prisoners’ Sunday, please get in touch:

More information:

Pact Prisoners’ Sunday information and resources: Marking Prisoners’ Sunday | Prison Advice and Care Trust

Our Faith in Action team supports Catholic people and parishes to encounter the voices of people in our communities with lived experience of the criminal justice system, to reflect on Catholic Social Teaching, and to put faith into action. We offer our JustPeople workshops, Diocesan events, and a network of Pact Parish Reps. Events | Prison Advice and Care Trust

*names changed to protect identities