Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - Free a thousand prisoners, detained for minor offenses in Indian jails, granting them a special "pardon" in the Jubilee Year: is what the Indian Franciscans submit to the government, hoping that in Indian society there can be a trace of mercy in the holy Year proclaimed by Pope Francis. As reported to Fides, the initiative was launched by the "Association of the Franciscan Families of India" (AFFI), a network that combines at a national level more than 50 thousand Franciscans from different religious congregations, male and female, and lay people. Gathered for their national assembly in Bangalore in recent days, the AFFI representatives reflected on the theme "Being Franciscans: the face of Christ's mercy in this world".
The Franciscans in India, present with 54 congregations in 164 provinces, are mainly engaged in helping the poor and marginalized through educational and medical institutions, and social works. "Since we are already involved in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and in the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, for the Jubilee of Mercy Pope Francis added and renewed a special motivation to the Franciscan mission in India", explains Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM Cap, AFFI coordinator.
Now the Franciscans have focused their attention on the release of prisoners held for petty crimes. Some social works run by the Franciscans already welcome prisoners or former prisoners who have commuted their punishment in social services. Now the intention is to start negotiations with the government to get a pardon but also to "guide former detainees and ensure they regain life with dignity and hope", said Fr. Sagayam. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/02/2016)