BY Peter Diamond | August 16 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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St Thérèse prayer memento for every Catholic prisoner

Every Catholic prisoner in Scotland is set to be gifted a memento commemorating the visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux to Barlinnie Prison next month.

General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Fr James Grant, designed the prayer card, which is to be given to every Catholic inmate across Scotland’s jails when the relics visit Barlinnie on Monday September 16.

 

Prayer cards

Fr Grant, who is co-ordinating the visit of the relics, said: “I’ve designed a card for the prisoners that will be given to them as a gift.

“It’s a simple prayer card with a picture of St Thérèse on the front and on the back of the card is a prayer for prisoners which illustrates the similarities between St Thérèse and the prisoners.

“Thérèse herself had a particular devotion to prisoners and often talked about the similarities to monastic life and being in a jail cell.

“Every Catholic prisoner in Scotland, not just the ones in Barlinnie will receive a prayer card on the weekend of the visit and hopefully it will be something they can cherish and pray with.”

 

A good initiative

The head of Catholic chaplaincy in Scotland, Deacon Harry Schnitker, has welcomed the creation of the prayer cards and believes they will be ‘quite impactful.’

Deacon Schnitker said: “I think it’s a really good initiative and the prayer card looks great.

“It is fitting that the relics are coming [to Barlinnie] there as the chapel there is the only remaining purpose built chapel at a Scottish prison—all the others have gone,” Deacon Schnitker added.

“Prisoners are very fond of these kind of mementos and I think they will be quite impactful for them.

“Some of our prison chaplains are doing catechesis around the relics and hopefully that will add some education and understanding of Thérèse, her fondness of prisoners and the similarities between monastic life and prison life.”

 

Church-prison relations

Deacon Schnitker added that the visit illustrates the good relations between the Church and prison services in Scotland.

“I think the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) should be commended for facilitating the visit of the relics to the prison,” he said.

“In modern times there is a lot of negativity between Church and state relations but this is a positive story and shows that they clearly value Catholic chaplains and the role of the Church in supporting prisoners.”

Fr Grant has also asked that parishes across Scotland consider holding a Novena for nine days in their church ahead of the visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux on Friday August 30 to September 20.

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