Mercy Servants, a group under Redemptorist Communications had the last feat of their Lenten initiative at Chikurubi Maximum prison last Saturday where they donated 340, 20 liter buckets and 560 pairs of slippers to 2 700 prisoners.
The group had a tour of different sections of the prison and had an opportunity to share and pray with the inmates. The experience was caped by the celebration of holy mass and the distribution of rosaries to the prisoners. It was a moving experience for the 50 Mercy Servants as they listened to experiences of the inmates who welcomed the gesture with love, song and dance.
Handing over the donation, Mrs. Dorothy Zakeo said it was part of the group’s Lenten initiative to support prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum by sourcing for the much needed buckets and slippers.
“We are so happy that we have managed to bring you these items we are presenting to you today. It is our gesture of love to you as encouraged by the Gospel of Jesus. This gesture was born out of sacrifices that the Catholic Church stresses on during the season of lent. We thank the Lord Jesus who guided our mission up to this day.”
Mrs. Zakeo said although the donation was the group’s last Lenten initiative, Mercy Servants will continue carrying out different initiatives especially supporting disadvantaged people and communities.
The groups’ visit coincided with the release of 200 prisoners under the government initiated amnesty. This prompted Mercy Servants to donate the collected mass offertory towards the bus fare of some released prisoners who had nothing to take them home.
Mercy Servants Spiritual Director, Fr. Kunaka said Redemptorist Communications was on its Lenten mission to preach the gospel through practical actions and reminded Christians to remember those who need their attention. He also called on the prisoners to live in the presence of God and to offer their concerns to him.
“We are on a mission to preach the gospel of love through practical actions such as visiting those in prison and assisting those who need our care. Our message to you is that we love you that is why we are here with you today. Every moment of our life belongs to God and we should know and love God in all our different circumstances because God has promised to be close to those who call upon his name. He calls you to be in his presence and he will one day answer your prayers,” said Fr. Kunaka.
The priest encouraged prisoners to serve their terms willingly and with hope knowing that one day that time will come to pass. He told the inmates that total freedom comes from God and said that there are people who are not physically in prison but who are spiritually in chains because they don’t believe in God.
“You should live in hope because hope will one day lead you to freedom. Some people out there are not physically imprisoned but they are spiritually in chains or are incarcerated by their families or the situations that they live in,” he said.
Chikurubi Correctional Office Women (PCOW), Mrs. Mutasa, thanked Mercy Servants for the donation and said the institution faces many challenges in supporting prisoners. Mutasa called on well wishers and churches to remember those in prison by donating different items that would cushion the inmates.
2700 inmates at Chikurubi Prison in need of assistance:
Chikurubi Prison is built to accommodate 1350 prisoners, but the institution currently hosts 2700 inmates including 340 psychiatric patients. This seriously affects service delivery and puts too much pressure on the institution’s facilities and its management. Chikurubi Chaplain, Mr. Katsvairo told Catholic Church News that the institution requests support in such areas as food and nutrition items, toiletry, blankets, sanitary pads for women and plastic bins.
Criminal Cases affecting male prisoners at Chikurubi Prison include:
Rape as the topical with between 30-35%,
Stock theft with 22%
Unlawful entry and theft.
Cases affecting women prisoners include:
Fraud, with women working together with men in committing the crime.
Those who want to donate to Chikurubi Maximum Prison can get in touch with The Chaplain, Mr. Katsvairo on mobile numbers 0771961 472 or 0712550507.