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Bishop visits prisoners for Mass
Christians in maximum security jail include those on death rowPrisoners celebrating Mass
- Robertus Sutriyono, Nusakambangan
- May 18, 2011
During the May 16 visit, the prelate was accompanied by two priests including the diocese‚Äôs secretary general Father Yohanes Suratman and 15 laypeople.
He led a Holy Mass for 30 Catholic and Protestant prisoners, some of whom have been sentenced to death, in the prison‚Äôs chapel.
‚ÄúJesus told me one day, ‚ÄėWhen I was in jail, you did not visit me,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Bishop Sunarka told the prisoners. ‚ÄúSo today, I come here to see Jesus staying in your heart.‚ÄĚ
He also encouraged the prisoners not to be afraid. ‚ÄúNo matter how deep our sins, God will forgive us,‚ÄĚ he said.
Jose Koelo, the prison officer dealing with prisoners‚Äô faith formation, acknowledged that the bishop‚Äôs visit ‚Äústrengthens our faith.‚ÄĚ
Windy Silviana, a visitor, agreed. ‚ÄúWe are thankful. Bishop Sunarka‚Äôs presence gives us a strong moral support,‚ÄĚ he said.
Father Suratman said he planned to send eight priests to continually visit the prison. ‚ÄúSo far, it is only Oblate Father Charles Burrows from St. Stephen Church in Cilacap that leads a Holy Mass regularly,‚ÄĚ he said.
Nusakambangan is located in the Indian Ocean, separated by a narrow strait from the southern coast of Java. The closest port is Cilacap in Central Java. Dubbed the ‚ÄúAlcatraz of Indonesia,‚ÄĚ the island is notorious for its maximum security prisons, home to convicted murderers, terrorists, drug dealers and those convicted in high profile corruption cases.
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