In brief

Chaplains in the prisons, a crucial role The Catholic primate of England and Wales Vincent Nichols, conveyed his support to the commitment undertaken by Justice minister Kenneth Clarke, introducing a revolutionary breakthrough in the rehabilitation of convicts. Speaking at the chapel of Brixton prison, Nichols outlined that Great Britain has the highest rate of imprisonment for a major European country. The archbishop referred to the Catholic Church Report of 2004, titled “In place of redemption”. The archbishop of Westminster highlighted the importance of service in prisons and the unique role of Catholic chaplains. He called for the simplification of bureaucracy so as to enable volunteers to cooperate with the chaplains. “I hear it is becoming almost impossible to get Catholic volunteers in the Chaplaincy because it can take months and months to provide security clearance”, he said. The Archbishop pointed out that Catholic Chaplaincy brings sacramental grace to prisoners like no one else could. “The Church, through its teaching, through its pastoral care, and through the Sacraments in particular, has a unique means of helping prisoners change and develop”. The spiritual dimension of prisoners is equally followed by PACT charity, which helps ex-prisoners reintegrate in society with the help of tutors and mentors. The program, titled “Basic Christian Communities”, costs ten times less than traditional prisoner rehabilitation programs and is more effective. Cafod survey on happiness The findings of a survey titled “Wholly living” – conducted by CAFOD, the Catholic charity for aid to Third World Countries in conjunction with Tearfund charity for combating poverty, which cooperates with Christian Churches in the U.K. and in developing countries, and by Theos theological centre for social and political studies – show that over 50% of British adults believe that helping others is key to happiness. The aim of the survey is to identify how development can be exploited to promote human happiness. When asked what makes them happy, 75% of interviewees replied that helping others is the key to happiness and 54% said it’s important to help others abroad. 90% highlighted the importance of environmental protection and the uprooting of poverty in the world. 97% deem spending their time with their family and friends as the most important thing, while having an interesting job is considered a priority by 92% of respondents. Having a high salary is not that important, it ranked first only for 64% of all respondents. Feast of All Saints: shine a light inside the households Lighting a candle on their windows as a sign of faith in Christ. This is how the Bishops of England and Wales invite the Christians in the United Kingdom to celebrate the coming Halloween (October 31st). “Night of Light” is the title of the initiative promoted by the movement “Cor et Lumen Christi” with the objective of promoting the rediscovery of the true Christian meaning of the Feast of All Saints, which is lived as the feast of Halloween also in Countries with a Catholic tradition. “The Feast of All Saints – said Damian Stayne, the founder of the Catholic community that promotes the initiative – is the feast in which Catholics celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Jesus is the ‘Light of the World’. The saints lived by that light, and became a beacon in their own generation. For the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales the initiative “Night of the Light” is being offered as a way of following up the Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK. “Making faith visible is so much a part of the invitation the Holy Father has extended to us all”, underlined Msgr. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference. Msgr. Kieran Conry, bishop of Arundel e Brighton, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference said: “Halloween is now the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter, and it is time we reminded Christians of what it really is. The celebration of feast days is an important part of our Catholic culture”.

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