Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland and the World Meeting of Families, Bishop of Down and Connor The Most Reverend Noel Treanor visited the ‘Families Matter’ programme at Maghaberry Prison.
Accompanied by the Prison Service Director General Ronnie Armour and Maghaberry Governor David Kennedy, the Bishop met staff and people in custody who are involved with the programme, which is run by the prison and Barnardo’s NI.
Prison Service Director General Ronnie Armour said, “We are delighted to welcome Bishop Treanor to see the innovative work taking place at Maghaberry to support fathers who are in custody. ‘Families Matter’ has been running for a number of years and is playing a key role in keeping families together. It allows fathers in prison to have enhanced visits and contact with their children to ensure that bond is not broken during their time in custody.
“The visit of the Pope later this month is a very significant event for the Catholic Church and the emphasis of family life is important. The impact on children of people in custody is often forgotten outside of prison, and I am grateful to the Bishop for taking time to meet our staff, Barnardo’s and the men on the programme, who are all making a real difference.”
The Most Reverend Bishop Noel Treanor said, “The importance of this highly innovative Families Matter programme within prison affirms the significance of family life and family relationships for the prisoners.
“I pay tribute to all those who have facilitated the ‘Families Matter’ programme since its implementation, in particular, Ronnie Armour, Head of NIPS and Maghaberry Prison Governor David Kennedy, the prison staff and the prison chaplains for having the vision, enterprise and courage to engage in this pioneering initiative which has benefited so many prisoners, their families and especially their children.
“The Families Matter programme highlights that there are many challenges faced within the family and society today. However, it is precisely within these challenging situations that the reality of family is lived and celebrated with faith, trust, joy and hope. Recalling the words of Pope Francis, “It takes a village to raise a child”, family provides the foundation for the Church and society and that we have a civic responsibility and mission to support and encourage the family.”
Notes to editors:
The forthcoming ‘World Meeting of Families’ will be held in Dublin from 21-26 August 2018, Held every three years, this major international WMOF event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church. The event has at its heart the following key moments:
21 August 2018, a National Opening of WMOF2018, which will take place simultaneously in all the different dioceses of Ireland.
22 to the 24 August 2018, a three-day Congress. Each day will reflect on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” chosen by the Pope Francis and will include an enriching programme for adults of keynote speakers, workshops, talks, testimonies and discussions; an engaging and exciting programme for young people as well as fun activities for children. The Congress will also include daily celebration of the Eucharist, prayerful activities, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances.
Saturday 25 August 2018, a Festival of Families, comprising a reflective concert style event within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, in which personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents.
Sunday 26 August 2018, WMOF2018 will close with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration, that will gather thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.
Pope Francis will be in attendance both on the Saturday and Sunday of this event.
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