Prison Ministry India has worked with detainees for over 30 years. Now it is running a recruitment campaign to bring relief to 1,382 in Indian jails. "Nearly 400 thousand people languish without love, hope and help." Membership is open to all; training will last two weeks from May 8 to 23.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) - "We invite you to spend a year as a volunteer or take on full-time jobs in our community”, is the invitation launched by Prison Ministry India (PMI), a Karnataka Catholic organization that has brought relief to prisoners being held in jails across India for over 30 years.
Fr. Sebastian Vadkumpadan, national coordinator of the association, explains: "Almost 400 thousand people languish without love, hope and help 1,382 detention houses throughout the country. Prison Ministry India offers a chance to get involved in the reform from within and without, in a course of rehabilitation for prisoners. "
The initiative comes from an incident last year at Easter time, during one of many corporal works of mercy promoted during the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. On Holy Thursday Msgr. Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Archbishop of Faridabad (Haryana), attended the ceremony of the washing of the feet in the Tihar jail in Delhi. On that occasion, he washed the feet of 12 prisoners. At the end of the liturgy another prisoner approached the altar and asked: "Your Excellency, can you also wash my feet?".
For the bishop and those present that request was a real surprise. The prelate was delighted at the question of the 13th prisoner. Msgr. Peter Remigius, President of PMI, said: "We should all go in search of the 13th prisoner, willing to accept our help and support. It is possible that they are not open to welcoming us, but we must always have a loving space for them. "
Thanks to the support of dioceses, congregations and church institutions, last year hundreds of prisoners regained their freedom. In the wake of the Year of Mercy, the organization decided to open up to the recruitment of volunteers across India to "contribute to search for the 13th prisoner."
Registration is now open and will end on 21 April. The training period will take place between May 8 and 23. In these two weeks anyone who wants to present - priests, nuns, lay people - will be trained full-time to "extend their compassion and care for our brothers behind bars." Anyone who wants to make a donation, may send their contribution to "Prison Ministry India, IFSC SIBL 0000416, Ac. No. 0416053000001419, South Indian Bank, Branch Koramangala, Bangalore-34, Pan AAATP No. 7433J. "