Pact Sends a Big Message of Thanks to Hallam Diocese

Pact, the national Catholic prison charity, held an event on 22nd February at St Marie’s Cathedral. Pact CEO Andy Keen-Downs and three members of staff were present at a Mass for People in Prison, celebrated by Bishop Ralph.

Andy Keen-Downs spoke at Mass about the work Pact does in four prisons in the diocese and in the community. He recalled his visit earlier in the day to Lindholme and Moorland prisons and the children and families he met who were visiting their loved ones inside. Andy explained how Pact staff and volunteers support people in prison and their families to stay connected, where appropriate. Strong family relationships during the horrible time of having a loved one in prison, reduce the risk of someone returning to crime after prison, by 39%. Keeping families together in these situations is a work of the common good and makes our communities safer for everyone.

After the well-attended Mass more than 30 people gathered in Houlden Hall to talk further about supporting people in prison and their families, and the work of Pact locally. Pact’s Faith in Action team were delighted by the goodwill, solidarity, and willingness to support this work, which so many people expressed. People wanted to know more about volunteering with Pact and about becoming a Pact parish rep. The Pact team shared copies of our Stations of the Cross liturgy which is illuminated with the words of people in prison and their families. We asked people to take away a poster about the National Prisoners’ Families Helpline which Pact operates on behalf of HMPPS. Displaying the poster in public places, such as churches and halls and community hubs, mean that someone might see that information just when they need it – and be able to get some help. Pact responded to 36,000 calls to the Helpline last year.

Pact’s Deputy Head of Services for the region, Chloe Duxbury, was able to tell people about our work in more detail. Chloe also connected with Hallam diocesan SVP through Liz Salmon and colleagues, who were keen to explore ways of working together. A number of people are going to attend the next Pact Just People workshop to spend more time in prayer and discernment, reflecting on Catholic Social Teaching through the lens of imprisonment, and considering how they might draw closer to the work of Pact.

Pact would like to thank everyone in the Hallam diocese who came along to this event. We deeply appreciate Bishop Ralph’s support, and the help of diocesan staff. We look forward to working with this wonderful diocese and its people in the coming months and years.

Note that Prisoners’ Sunday will be on 13th October this year. This is a National Day of Prayer for all affected by imprisonment and an opportunity to support the work of Pact by making a donation if you can.

Find out more:

Contact Pact: [email protected]