What Archbishop Caccia told Iwahig inmates

What Archbishop Caccia told Iwahig inmates

Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, shakes hands with an inmate as he meets with prisoners at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Nov. 29. KATYA A.SANTOS

By Katya A. Santos

December 3, 2019

Puerto Princesa City

In one of his last acts as papal nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia has met with inmates and urged them to use their time in jail to get their lives on track.

Speaking to the inmates inside the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm near Puerto Princesa city on Nov. 29, Caccia assured them that the Church is with them.

“Make these difficult times of your life as a special opportunity to rediscover God,” he said, noting that “we all, are sinners.”

His trip to one of the world’s largest open-air jails was among the highlights of his pastoral visit to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa.

The nuncio told the prisoners that whenever Pope Francis visited countries, he would always want to visit prisoners because they are an important part of the Church.

“You are not abandoned, you are not alone. The Church is accompanying you, pray with you, pray for you,” Caccia said.

Prior to speaking with prisoners, he individually shook the hands of some of them and the officials of the penal colony led by Senior Supt. Geraldo Aro.

The inmates also give the archbishop, who was accompanied by Bishop Socrates Mesiona, some of their artworks and handicrafts.

The outgoing papal nuncio was in Palawan for this year’s “Bugsayan” celebration, attended by the more than 5,000 people from the variate’s different parishes.

Pope Francis has earlier appointed Caccia as the Vatican’s New Permanent Observer to the United in Nations in New York.

He is reportedly leaving Manila for his home country in Italy early this month before assuming this new post on Jan. 16, next year.