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Pope Sends Christmas Greetings to Prisoners

ITALY, NAPLES : Prisoners playing football into Secondigliano’s detention center – en

PH. CONTROLUCE/CARLO HERMANN

ITALY, NAPLES : Prisoners playing football into Secondigliano&#039;s detention center, in Naples, southern Italy.<br /> PH. CONTROLUCE/CARLO HERMANN

Vatican Radio - published on 12/14/14

Time spent in the facility should not be seen as “time lost,” but rather “as a further occasion for growth."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has written a letter to prisoners at a correctional facility in the Italian district of Latina, assuring them of his spiritual closeness and his prayers during the Christmas season.

In his letter, addressed to the chaplain, Father Nicola Cupaiolo, Pope Francis said that he hoped that the time spent in the facility would not be seen as “time lost,” but rather “as a further occasion for genuine growth in order to find peace of heart and the strength to be reborn, a return to living the hope in the Lord who never disappoints.”

The Holy Father included with his letter the gift of a new Missal, with the hope that those in the facility “might discover in the Holy Mass the track of the daily journey with the Lord, who is the efficacious physician of your wounds, the faithful friend of each day, and the necessary nourishment to sustain you in that journey of salvation and liberation that not even prison bars can impede.”

Pope Francis assured the prisoners that he was close to them and to their families, and asked them to pray for him, too.

The correctional facility is in the Diocese of Terracina-Latina-Sezze-Privett, just outside Rome. Its Bishop, Mariano Crusade, expressed his “joy and gratitude” for the gesture of the “exquisite attention of the Holy Father” for the 120 detainees of the facility, including more than 30 women held in the maximum security for crimes relating to terrorism and organized crime.

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