Prisoners' Week: remembering those behind bars

Archbishop Leo Cushley has thanked Catholics in the Archdiocese who visit prisons - and has challenged more parishioners to join them.

He chatted with prisoners and staff at HMP Edinburgh yesterday (Wednesday) as part of Prisoners' Week.

He said: "This year's theme is 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' and it's good to know that people across the Archdiocese do remember those who are locked up.

"They do this very quietly, discreetly and in a Christian fashion. I think during Prisoners' Week it's worth highlighting this important voluntary work so that more people know about it and contribute."

He thanked Prison Governor David Abernethy, who took him around the site, and the ecumenical chaplaincy team, including Father Vasyl Kren (main pic, second from left), for their work in ministering to people of all faiths and none.

Mass behind bars

Archbishop Cushley was joined by two members of a prison visiting group from St Mary's Cathedral, John Macfarlane and James Walker.

A group from the Cathedral visit HMP Edinburgh (also known as Saughton Prison) on the first Saturday of each month.

They meet up with Father Kren each month to attend a Mass and two communion services, spending up to three hours inside the building.

Mr Macfarlane (main pic, right) said: "The small group of us who visit the prison each month go there to attend Mass with some of the prisoners.

"I think it's an important connection - both for us who visit, and for the prisoners themselves. We get the opportunity to chat very briefly with them after each Mass, which I think is also very important in maintaining the link with the Church outside."

Fr Kren said: "I's great to have parishioners joining us. We had a positive ecumenical meeting with Archbishop Cushley at the prison, discussing a range of issues. We appreciate the visit and the encouragement it gave the chaplaincy team here."

A spokesperson for Prisoners' Week said: "This year's theme challenges us to get to know more about the lives of people in prison and asking if we care."

If you would like to join St Mary's Cathedral prison visiting group emailĀ