Prison Ministry Resumes in Ciego de Avila, Cuba

Interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ciego de Avila Cuba
Penitentiary Ministry © Facebook. Diocese of Ciego de Ávila

On November 3, 2021, the diocese of Ciego de Avila in Cuba, resumed its face-to-face prison ministry in the Provincial Prison of Canaletas, after a long pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a note of the diocese, the name of the community — made up of a group of inmates, who receive religious assistance in the Provincial Prison of Canaletas of Ciego de Avila –, is “Jesus Lives.”

The decision was taken to “begin this time of new challenge in the conversion of the imprisoned with the Sacrament of Baptism, which a group of prisoners will receive shortly. As visits were halted due to the pandemic, they were preparing themselves and wish to continue their catechumenal journey. We also wished to take up again a distance-learning course of biblical formation, coordinated as a whole by the prison ministry and the diocese’s Formation Center,” explains the statement.

Despite being unable to come together and to see one another for almost two years, “the work of the prison ministry in Ciego de Avila hasn’t ceased in its care of the inmates, who sometimes are deserted and abandoned by family members and friends.” So, “we made ourselves present by sending to the prison, through an official channel, small crates with food, toiletries and all that we could collect or buy.”

Now “it’s a grace that prisoners’ volunteer visitors can return to the programmed visits.”

Finally, they highlight “the gratitude of this very vulnerable sector, prisoners who repeat tirelessly to us that in these months of so much tension, the Catholic Church was by their side, praying for them, encouraging them, and giving them hope in life and in salvation through telephone calls and the above-mentioned small material aids.“

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester