Bishop Kevin Celebrates Mass at Castlerea Prison

Bishop Kevin Celebrates Mass at Castlerea Prison
Sunday 26th October 2014

“I am delighted to be here with you for Mass this morning. Like many people, I’ve passed the gate of Castlrea Prison many times but this is my first visit. I also bring you greetings from Pope Francis. When I was appointed bishop, he wrote to me and aske me to have a special care for prisoners.

If you were listening in to the Gospel you probably noticed that it was about love. Jesus reminds us that there is a close connection between God’s love for us and our love for one another.

You might well ask me how is that relevant to your life here in Castlerea. Can love survive or even grow within a prison. Some people would be very pessimistic about that, but I’m not. You probably know as well as I do that, even outside, you can feel locked in by the situation of your life – and still people manage to love one another in very practical ways.

I’m sure some of you are very angry with yourselves for being here and some of you are possibly angry with other people. The people you are with, even the best of them, are possibly not the people you really want to be with. But even with all of that, I know that many of you find ways to look after one another and to help one another through a difficult day or a difficult week.

Love is possible in prison and it begins with the fact that God loves you and, no matter what you may have done, he has never stopped loving you. He loves you All, prisoners and officers. His love is what helps you to grow in love.

Sometimes I could kick myself for things I do or say, and would love to take them back if I could. If you find it difficult to forgive yourself or to forgive others, just remember that God has forgiven you, because that’s what God does! If you can begin to accept his love for you, then maybe you can also allow some of that love to flow through you to touch those around you.

Thanks for your welcome. Now that I have been here, I have a sense of who you are and where you are and I’ll carry you and your families in my prayers.”