Diocesan News

A message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols for Prisoners' Sunday 2023

'This day...with me...paradise’ Luke 23:43

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Prisoners' Sunday 8th October 2023

'This day...with me...paradise’ Luke 23:43

A message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols

As President of Pact, I invite you to join with me in supporting Prisoners’ Sunday on 8th October 2023. Pact is the national Catholic charity providing support to prisoners and their families. It is good to know that Pact is there for people of all faiths and none, supporting prisoners and their families on our behalf and with our help. I encourage you to play your part in this work of the Gospel for the common good of all.’

Pact posts out a Prisoners’ Sunday pack to every parish in England & Wales – arriving around 18th September. It contains a poster, bidding prayers, information about our work and second collection details.

Pact works in seven prisons in the Nottingham diocese. We run the Visitors’ Centres where we meet children and families coming to visit someone inside. Visitors can easily feel overwhelmed and apprehensive, but Pact staff and volunteers provide a friendly welcome and good information about what to expect. It can be upsetting and overwhelming to visit someone in prison, and it can be hard to be visited in prison by your children and members of your family. However, there are also men and women in prison who receive no visits at all. Perhaps family relationships have completely broken down, or the person experienced being in care as a child and young person - and never had a good network of support.

Pact works in HMP Foston Hall which is a women’s prison. In Foston Hall we have begun offering social opportunities for those women who have no visitors. We are providing engaging sessions where the women can gather to talk, to take part in activities, and to eat together. Some of the women in the new group told us that they had been serving their sentence at Foston Hall for years and this was their first time in the Social Visits’ Hall.

Pact's CEO, Andy Keen-Downs explains, ‘Our work in prisons and communities across England & Wales ensures that prisoners, children and families are supported; and their dignity is respected and upheld.  Where appropriate, we help families to make a fresh start together and live lives which bear good fruit. By supporting prisoners to be restored to the community, our work makes communities safer – research shows that prisoners who have good family relationships are 39% less likely to return to crime.

We are delighted that this year Fr John McCay will celebrate Mass in St Barnabas’ Cathedral on Prisoners’ Sunday at 11.15am. How beautiful and how fitting that prisoners and their families will be brought before the Lord in the Cathedral as well as in parishes in the diocese.’  

We humbly request that parishes consider taking up a second collection to support the work of Pact in the year ahead. Your support means we can do more for prisoners and their families. You can choose a nearby Sunday for the second collection if that helps.


Pact Prisoners’ Sunday information and resources: Marking Prisoners' Sunday | Prison Advice and Care Trust

Our Faith in Action team supports Catholic people and parishes to encounter the voices of people in our communities with lived experience of the criminal justice system, to reflect on Catholic Social Teaching, and to put faith into action. We offer our JustPeople workshops, Diocesan events, and a network of Pact Parish Reps Events | Prison Advice and Care Trust

Donate - Prisoners' Sunday Appeal | Prison Advice and Care Trust

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