A Catholic priest, who took part in the 12th national conference of Prison Ministry India (PMI), says the Catholic movement’s charism and activities have inspired him. The ministry is a national voluntary organization working for the welfare of prisoners for over three decades.
As reported by mattersindia.com, Father Felix Antony Pinto, director of Seva Kendra (service center), the social service center of Bagdogra diocese, remarked that “I consider myself blessed to be part of the ongoing PMI conference, which has this vision ‘to release, renew, rehabilitate and reform prisoners and prisons.” He was among more than 500 people from across India who attended the October 23-26 conference on the theme is ‘You are not alone’ held at Guwahati, Assam. Father Pinto, who also directs Ashagram Children’s Home, Ranidanga, said, “PMI volunteers visit prisoners in the country, spend time with them and organize programs and events to bring them spiritual, moral, emotional and social comfort. Volunteers spend great deal of time in prayer and make a lot of personal sacrifices to be effective as PMI workers.”
PMI began in 1986 by some young seminarians in the southern Indian state of Kerala visiting a local prison. It now has more than 6,000 volunteers who believe that love and forgiveness can do more than law and prisons. ‘A single act of love makes the soul return to life’ (St. Maximilian). According to the PMI, at least 419,623 prisoners languish in the Indian jails and more than 60 percent of them are undergoing trial.