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CBCP-ECPPC message for Prison Awareness Sunday 2022

CBCP-ECPPC message for Prison Awareness Sunday 2022

As the Church in the Philippines once again celebrates Prison Awareness Sunday, we are invited to grow in our awareness and knowledge of the situation and plight of our sisters and brothers in the various prisons and jails all over the country, our PDLs (persons deprived of liberty), as well as their dreams and hopes for true freedom, restorative justice and the chance for a new life.

May we understand that what they need is not a negative judgment that will forever imprison them to the stigma of their incarceration. What these PDLs need are understanding and respect for them as human beings, a suitable place for correction and reformation, and a justice system that is centered on rehabilitation. Moreover, may this event help us to listen that what is needed is not Death Penalty but a justice system that will help rebuild the human person and bring back a high regard for the law that everyone will observe regardless of social status.

Today we continue to advocate in their behalf that their rights be upheld and respected. We pray that in their respective (correctional) communities our PDLs may experience and be afforded human respect, freedom from all forms of injustice and harm, and so that everyone (from the officers, wardens, guards, and inmates, among others) may experience a listening, healing and loving community.

May the God of mercy and love bless our efforts with success!

Manila, October 30, 2022.

+Joel Z. Baylon, D.D.
Bishop of Legazpi
Chairman, CBCP-ECPPC

___________________________

A kid was crying and a man came to stop and ask him why and gave him water. The kid cried continuously and another man stop and ask him why, then gave him money. The kid cried all the more and once more another man approached him and ask why is he crying and gave him food, the kid cried loudly. Finally, another man lovingly approached the kid, asked him and carefully listened to the kid’s concern. The kid said that he was lost and ask the man to help him. Then the man help him to go home.

This year’s theme for the Prison Awareness is TOWARDS A LISTENING, HEALING AND LOVING CORRECTIONAL COMMUNITY. God knows perfectly the art of listening, for he listens to the cry of the poor (Psalm 34: 17). He even listens to the sinners as saint Matthew (5: 45) says ‘that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.’ God listens to all of us though we are sinners. He would listen even to the concerns of Persons Deprived of Liberty because all of us are God’s children and by listening, God decides to love us all the more. The love of God brings healing emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Prison awareness is a time to listen to the needs of our PDL brothers and sisters. Listening to them will bring us to the awareness of their deepest need. Material blessings will be a great help for them. However, It is not only material blessings that will make them as a whole person. Our generosity coupled with our love towards our PDL brothers and sister will not only bring them happiness but healing as well. Let us learn to listen to the cries of our poor brethren just as Jesus listened to them in order for us to love them and bring healing to the whole person.

A blessed Prison Awareness Sunday to all!

Manila, October 30, 2022
Fr. Nezelle O. Lirio
Executive Secretary, CBCP-ECPPC

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