The crowd at the Prisons Week Mass.The crowd at the Prisons Week Mass.
“It can be daunting and frustrating at times when those we seek to help fail to listen and respond,” said Archbishop William Goh during the annual Prisons Week Mass held at the Church of St Mary of the Angels on July 5.

But “before we label such people [convicts] as ‘goners’,” said the archbishop, “the Gospel reminds us to think carefully and not allow prejudice to prevent us from reaching out to people in need.”

He then invited all present to ask themselves why people end up in jail.

Parents upbringing of their children are vital to their character and behaviour, he said.
Archbishop William Goh speaking during the homily.Archbishop William Goh speaking during the homily.

“Everyone wants to be successful in life; no one wants to fail but problems at home and further getting labelled in school as ‘hopeless’ leaves [the person] thinking ‘I have no hope’ and ‘I have no future’.”

Thus turning to gangs and drugs is the person’s way to find escape, he said.

Archbishop Goh also reminded parents to take a genuine interest in their children’s lives, and not just in getting good academic results.

However, he acknowledged that there were cases where despite parents’ and teachers’ best efforts, the child still refuses to respond, change and remains rude and defiant.
 
The archbishop advised all present that they should not allow the hurt inflicted by the defiant child to affect them.

He ended off by saying that winning over a defiant child requires love, mercy and compassion.

Archbishop Goh also said that there shouldn’t be any judgement, and that prayer and fasting are necessary to change people’s lives.

He thanked Fr Kenny Tan, spiritual director of the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry; Fr Eugene Lee, assistant spiritual director and all volunteers of the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry for their sacrifce and commitment. He also urged those present to consider joining the ministry.

To know more about the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry, visit http://www.rcpm.org.sg/

By Melvyn Sum

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