.- The Papal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, encouraged those in prison to the turn to the Word of God for strength in order to “begin their lives once again.” During his homily at a Mass at the Regina Coeli Prison in Rome, the cardinal said, “We all have a desert inside us: all the loneliness, mistakes, discomforts, feelings of hatred, envy, imprisonment and even death. But in the desert of life it is possible to begin a new journey. I have also gone through difficult times and my strength has always been the Word of God. I hope it is the same for you.
Cardinal Vallini told the prisoners, “You have been given the chance to begin again, to re-think your lives. Do not be discouraged, everyone can re-start their lives.”
The cardinal was joined at the Mass by the chaplain of the Regina Coeli Prison, Father Vittorio Trani, who has been working at the prison for 30 years. “He explained to me the meaning of Regina Coeli’s rotunda, where one finds a world full of anguish, sorrow, frailty, sin, but also a world where re-building occurs,” the cardinal said. “This is a place of prayer: Regina Coeil does not have a chapel and for this reason, on Sunday, the prisoners meet here to celebrate, and I would say, to re-start their lives, in order to have faith in a new beginning.”
Cardinal Vallini also encouraged those on the outside to help prisoners by show solidarity with them and helping them with employment when they are released.
Last week the Holy Father greeted the sister of murder-turned-saint Jacques Fesch after his Wednesday General Audience. Fesch was a young man in Paris who killed a police officer and was condemned to death in 1957. While in prison, his conversion was so dramatic that in 1993, then-Archbishop of Paris Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger opened his cause for beatification.