Prison inmates will have their own moment with the relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus when it stops over in Negros Occidental on April 9-16.
The Prison Ministry at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Talisay is already starting to have their catechesis talk to them on the life of St. Therese who is known to have been instrumental in the conversion of at least two prisoners – Henri Pranzini and Jacques Fesch.
A Carmelite nun, St. Therese reached out to triple-murderer Pranzini whom she feared would die unrepentant. It was after the latter’s execution that the saint learned that Pranzini, at the last minute, asked for a crucifix and kissed it three times.
In her writings, St. Therese said Pranzini’s soul “went to receive the merciful sentence of Him who declares that in heaven there will be more joy over one sinner who does penance than over 99 who have no need of repentance.”
Fesch on the other hand, was executed for murder on the Feast Day of St. Therese. His last words before he was guillotined was to also ask for a crucifix that he kissed, similar to the act of Pranzini.
The prison ministry and the organizers of the St. Therese visit are hoping that the story of the saint and in particular the conversions of the two prisoners will touch the inmates heart and make them seek repentance for their misdeeds while still on earth.
BJMP Talisay inmates will have their moment with the saint on April 13 when a program is being arranged for the prisoners to render songs and have a silent veneration before the relics will be transferred to Bacolod City.
In Talisay, 75 inmates, along with 75 family members will roll out a grand welcome for the saint, each one bearing a handkerchief, personally printed by the inmates, which they will use to wipe the reliquary during the veneration.
The following day, after an overnight stay at the San Sebastian Cathedral, the relics will also be brought to the Handumanan Jail where almost a thousand inmates, both male and female, will have their time with the relics.
Jail officers said they have started the “St. Therese experiential” teachings for their inmates in Handumanan as well.
The reliquary will arrive via a helicopter from Bohol on April 9 in the Diocese of Kabankalan where it will stay overnight at the Kabankalan Catholic Church, after which it will be transferred the day after to the Little Way College Seminary.
On April 11, it will leave Kabankalan after a send-off mass and will pass through Himamaylan, Binalbagan, Isabela and on to La Castellana where will be fetched by the Diocese of San Carlos.
After a night in San Carlos, the relics will be transferred to Sagay City passing through Calatrava, Toboso and Escalante and staying overnight at the St. Joseph Church in Sagay.
It will travel to Bacolod on April 13 passing Cadiz City where a mass will be held at the Sto. Niño Parish before departing for Victorias City where the Diocese of San Carlos will formally turn over the relics to the Diocese of Bacolod at the Vicariate of our Lady of Victory.
The relic will board the St. Therese mobile van and will lead a motorcade to the Vicariate of San Diego in Silay for a short stop before heading to the BJMP Talisay and then to the San Sebastian Cathedral where a welcome mass at 6 p.m. will be officiated by Bishop Elect Louie Galbines.*
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