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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, April 14, 2018
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‘Prayers for second chances’


Romeo (not his real name), 76, one of the oldest inmates in the Talisay City jail was in tears when asked what his prayers to St. Therese of the Child Jesus were.

He said he wished to be freed sooner, as the trial for his theft case has not been moving for the almost three years that he has been behind bars, as he paused for seconds to wipe his tears with a handkerchief with the image of the saint printed on it.

“My prayers… I hope that He will guide us, especially on my case… I hope they will start the hearing right away,” he said.

He was among the 136 prisonersof the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Matab-ang, Talisay City, who welcomed the relics of St. Therese of theChild Jesus yesterday. For Romeo, and other inmates, the visit was a blessing for them.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, who was a Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, is the patroness of the prisoners, the army, and policemen.

The glass container of her relics wassurrounded by roses, and the inmates welcomed it by waving white handkerchiefs with her face printed on them as some tossed rose petals as itpassed them.

Bernadette (not her real name), said that they are very blessed as she never experienced this kind of event when she was out of jail.

She prayed to St. Therese for more strength for good deeds if she gets out of prison, adding that she will never commit what she did before.

Bernadette has been imprisoned for almost four years now for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

She said that as she draws closer to God, she is asking for forgiveness from everyone she hurt before, and she prays to St. Therese to give her another chance to change for the better.

Jo (not her real name), 57, also said that the visit of St. Therese brought happiness and excitement as, for the first time, she was given the chance to get closer to her relics.

“We are like the chosen onesto get this kind grace as inmates,” Jo said as she cried, adding, “Despite the fact that I am already convicted, I know that the Lord will free me.”

“I cannot explain how I really feel but I am thankful for this moment,” she added.

Deputy Director for Chaplain Services of the Philippine National Police, Senior Supt. and Msgr. Onie Rosaroso, who is the lead escort of the St. Therese’s relics, also said that his experience was moving as they witnessed miracles in every place the saint visited in the country.

He said that the intercession of St. Therese helped to enrich spirituality in the military and police of the country.

The relics were brought afterwards to the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City where a mass led by Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Bacolod Vicente Navarra was celebrated.

Today, St. Therese’s relics will be transferred to the Carmelite Monastery in Mandalagan, Bacolod City, and will depart for the Archdiocese of Iloilo on Sunday.*MLG


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