‘This day…with me…paradise’ Lk 23:43

A message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols

‘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 all six prisons in the Plymouth diocese, as well as in the community. Jim* arrived recently to a prison in the diocese. At his first night induction he appeared vulnerable and seemingly had no contact with his family. The prison staff were so concerned for Jim’s well-being that they put him on a ‘constant watch’ and asked Pact to try and help, saying, ‘Things are looking bleak for this gentleman.’

Pact’s Family Support worker and a volunteer went to see Jim. They sat with him and listened. Through this conversation, they discovered that Jim had previously had contact with his dad. He had lost his dad’s contact details before he could get them listed on the prison system and this means that his dad would not be able to visit him.

Pact’s staff were able to find Jim’s Dad, speak to him on the phone and get the details Jim needed. Meanwhile Jim was moved to the hospital wing because his condition had worsened. Pact’s team visited him there and were able to help him sort out the paperwork so that his dad could visit. His Dad booked the earliest visit possible and they were finally able to spend some time together.

We helped Jim and his dad navigate the prison system and keep in touch – as we do for thousands of families every year.

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 are delighted that this year Canon Paul Cummins will celebrate Mass in St. Mary & St. Boniface Cathedral on Prisoners’ Sunday. How beautiful and how fitting that prisoners and their families will be brought before the Lord in the Cathedral as well as in parishes in the diocese.’

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: parish.action@prisonadvice.org.uk

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