On 18 March, Prisons Advice and Care Trust (PACT) and Caritas Plymouth held a roadshow at St Mary’s Poole to explore the challenges facing prisons and to discuss opportunities to support prison Ministry. PACT began in the Catholic church but is open to people of all faiths and none.
There are many challenges in prisons. PACT’s work is informed by people who are in prison or have relatives in prison and by catholic social teaching. They are underpinned by the idea that humans have value and dignity made in the image of God. They work for the common good of society and offer a range of services. Find out more here.
Deacon Mike Turnbull talked about his experience as a prison chaplain at Guys Marsh and his work to create places of hope. He shared the challenging situation facing people imprisoned and the role of chaplains. Chaplaincies are now multi-faith and offer support to prisoners of all faiths or none. Chaplains visit prisoners in the Segregation Unit, meet new receptions to the prison and those going out and offer pastoral support – bereavement, marriage etc; marking faith festivals, weekly worship and faith instruction. Chaplains look out for high risk prisoners as well as supporting contact with family and are also there for the spiritual welfare of the prison staff.
How can we help?
The local catholic chaplain will be able to offer advice about local volunteering opportunities but here are some ideas for action:
- Mark Prisoners’ Sunday on 8 October
- Take on the role of PACT representative in your parish
- Sign up to receive Fresh Start magazine
- Join a small group workshop to reflect more deeply
- Consider volunteering opportunities with PACT or the chaplaincy team