Prisoners’ Sunday 8th October 2023 ‘This day…with me…paradise’

Luke 23:43

A message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Christmas family visits for the women inside HMP Send on the 22nd of December 2022, at HMP Send, Woking, United Kingdom. Christmas time is particularly tough for people in prison but sometimes tougher for those family members, especially children that have a parent locked up. (photo by Andy Aitchison)

‘As President of Pact, I invite you to join with me in supporting Prisoners’ Sunday on 8th October 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 help. 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 18th September. It contains a poster, bidding prayers, information about our work and second collection details.

Pact works in four prisons in the diocese, as well as in the community. As part of our work supporting family relationships, we work in the Pact Visitors’ Centres welcoming families arriving to visit a loved one inside, helping them to prepare for their visit and explaining what to expect. This is especially important for the children who can find the prison environment overwhelming.

We organise special Family Visit Days when the normal rules can be relaxed a little. Pact staff and volunteers organised a Family Sports Day recently. Dads wore team T-shirts that their children had coloured in for them. There were Spacehopper races, egg and spoon races, bean bag throwing, an agility course and fairground games like ‘hook a duck’.

By organising events like this, Pact can bring some sort of normality to the children’s life and dads don’t need to miss out on their children’s annual sports day or other milestones.

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.

Get in touch if you would like someone to speak briefly about Pact’s work at Mass on Prisoners’ Sunday where you are: [email protected]

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