Most people in prison are there as punishment for wrongdoing, and tragically some are there for a crime that they didn’t commit.
The punishment of prison is not limited only to being locked up. Conditions are often poor, there is brutality from fellow inmates, and abandonment by family and friends.
Father Peter Sodje has seen it all in his prison ministry. The visit from a priest or anyone else from the Church is a source of hope and encouragement, proof that someone cares – someone who brings the message of repentance and forgiveness when all seems to be lost.
A typical visit begins with the saying of the rosary, except on days when the Eucharist is celebrated. After rosary, there is a reading from the Bible, concluded with a prayer.
If they have a wish to share, inmates are encouraged to come forward to give a reflection on the reading. Then, after a brief homily, prisoners are free to ask questions. And those who seek counselling will stay behind to speak to Father one by one.
At the year end, if refreshments can be afforded, there is a small Christmas celebration with each prisoner receiving the gift of a donated rosary.