With the ongoing diocesan phase of the synod, a Catholic bishop hoped that the Church would be able to provide the prison communities the experience of “solidarity and synodality.”
This means “recognizing their dignity as human beings, defending life as we should, their lives, their dreams, and their hopes,” said Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi.
The bishop, who heads the episcopal conference’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, made the call in his message for this year’s Prison Awareness Sunday, which falls on October 31.
Pope Francis has earlier called for a wide participation of the synod, recognizing one another especially those who are in special situations.
Bishop Baylon said the synodal journey indicates walking together and listening to another, where everyone can participate, especially the poorest, the voiceless, those on the periphery.
This also includes, he added, even “those who are forgotten, even judged for whatever wrongs they have done to others and community.”
“And this is specifically and especially true with these people whom we serve in prison,” Bishop Baylon said.
The celebration reflects on the theme, “The jail and chaplains and volunteers: Gifted to give love that restores life, hope and healing to prison community,” which is in line with the theme of the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines.
The bishop also used his message to recognize the value of the prison ministry and the support of the various sectors in the church.