This weekend we mark Prison Sunday (7 November), an opportunity to acknowledge the important work of prison ministry. ‘Whether the setting is a hospital or a custodial facility, the offer to reconnect with a sense of purpose and meaning is at the heart of the pastoral relationship between the chaplain and the person,’ says Paul Zammit, Senior Manager of Pastoral Care Services at CatholicCare Victoria. Providing this care during the pandemic has been a challenge. Prison chaplain of 27 years Sr Mary O'Shannassy SGS says that while she and her team have maintained connections with those imprisoned through video conferencing, telephone calls and written messages, they feel the pain of residents who have been deprived of family visits, support and education services, and religious services.
‘When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you get to know a lot of people,’ Sr Mary says. ‘It really is a privilege to be able to journey with these people, and to encourage them to grow and to eventually move on.’
Also this week we feature two books worth adding to your shelf: Streams of Light by Dr Nigel Zimmermann and Shadow of the Cross by Greg Craven AO. Both works explore the radical contributions that the Catholic Church and people of faith can make in a world desperately in need of tangible hope. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will officially launch Shadow of the Cross on Thursday 18 November, alongside former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. (If you haven't already registered for this online event, make sure you do it soon!)