In a message broadcast on Italian radio station RTL, Pope Francis thanked his “friends” at the Due Palazzi parish who had prepared the meditations for the Via Crucis on Good Friday.

The parish is connected to the Due Palazzi correctional facility in Padua, in northern Italy, and the meditations were composed by prisoners, victims, guards, families, judges and others associated with the prison.

It is a great consolation he [Pope Fracis] said, “to read a story in which there are stories not only of prisoners, but of all those who are passionate about the world of prison”.

Sharing their stories

Addressing them as his friends, Pope Francis thanked the members of the parish for sharing their stories. He reminded them, “God tells of Himself and speaks to us within a story and invites us to listen attentively and mercifully”.

The people of Due Palazzi, the Pope said, are not lost in a “sea of anonymity”, but instead represent all those people involved in the world of corrections. “Thus,” he said, “in the Via Crucis you will lend your story to all those throughout the world who share the same situation”.

Pope Francis concluded his message saying he embraced all of those at Due Palazzi. And after asking them again to keep him in their prayers, the Holy Father signed off, saying, “I carry you always in my heart. Thank you.”