The following is a message from Pope John Paul II to all law enforcement officers, judges, probation officers and those who help in any way to change the lives of released inmates.
In a direct way, it refers specifically to accomplishments of the new Alpha Omega Residential Rehabilitation Home that has recently opened up in Iron Mountain and others who provide services of the same nature.
The home does not accept any government funding and is dependent on corporations, churches and individual donations to pay all of the bills and provide an environment for safe living and rehabilitation tools for successful re-entry back into society.
Another Alpha Omega home is presently being pursued for the female population and as soon as funds are pledged and secured housing is found, it will provide the same successful services to those women who are in dire need of a safe and secure home to begin their new life's journey of rehabilitation. (We have already received two requests for residency at a female facility of Alpha Omega and so time and need is of great concern for this future home).
If there are any individuals and/or corporations who wish to help us with our new female Alpha Omega home, please call 906-774-0303 and ask for Deacon Don Christy (founder and director). Any pledges or donations will be appreciated far more than words can express.
Enjoy Pope John Paul II's message.
"As Directors of Prison Administration, you can make a significant contribution, together with all those responsible for the administration of justice in society, towards promoting this "more genuine" justice that is "open to the liberating power of love."
"Your role, in a certain sense, is even more crucial than that of the legislators, since even when adequate structures and resources are in place, the effectiveness of re-educational strategies always depends on the sensitivity, ability and attentiveness of those called to put into practice what is prescribed on paper.
"The task of prison officers, at whatever level they operate, is by no means easy.
"That is why today, through you, I would like to pay tribute to all those in prison administration who carry out their duties with diligence and dedication. Contact with offenders paying the price for what they have done and the commitment needed to restore dignity and hope to people who in many cases have already suffered marginalization and scorn call to mind the mission of Christ himself, who came to call not the just, but sinners (cf. Mt 9:13; Mk 2:17; Lk 5:32), the privileged recipients of divine mercy.
"Everyone is called to become his brother's keeper, transcending the homicidal indifference of Cain (cf. Gen 4:9). You in particular are asked to take custody of people who, in prison conditions, are at greater risk of losing their sense of life's meaning and the value of personal dignity, yielding instead to discouragement and despair. Profound respect for persons, commitment to the rehabilitation of prisoners, fostering a genuinely educational community: these things are all the more urgent, in view of the growing number of 'foreign prisoners,' whose circumstances are often difficult and precarious.
"Clearly, it is essential that the role of prison institutions and staff be matched by a corresponding willingness on the part of the prisoner to undergo a period of formation. Yet it is not enough simply to wait and hope for a positive response: this should be solicited and encouraged by means of initiatives and programs capable of overcoming idleness and breaking the isolation in which prisoners are often trapped.
"Particularly important in this regard is the promotion of forms of evangelization and spiritual care, capable of drawing out the most noble and profound side of the prisoner, awakening his enthusiasm for life and his desire for beauty, so characteristic of people who discover anew that they bear within them the indelible image of God.
"Where there is confidence in the possibility of renewal, prison can perform its re-educational function and become the occasion for the offender to taste the redemption won by Christ through the Paschal Mystery, which guarantees victory over all evil.
"Dear friends, I thank you sincerely for all that you do, and I invoke upon you and your work abundant divine blessings."