Arcidiocesi di Lima
Lima (Agenzia Fides) - For three months, prisoners of twelve Peruvian prisons made about 300 thousand rosaries. This initiative of the National Penitentiary Institute, in coordination with the Archdiocese of Lima, will help to cover the organizational expenses that the Church of Lima will have to support for Pope Francis’ visit, as well as allowing 650 prisoners to feel part of this great climate of joy and hope.
Father Luis Gaspar Uribe, executive director of the Pope's visit to Lima, talking to the inmates of the "Virgen de Fatima" prison, told them: "You must not be ashamed. God is not ashamed of you. Peru will see what you can do with your own hands". Martha Hualinga, who has served a sentence in Virgen de Fátima prison for 8 years and is one of the women who took part in the initiative, said that in every rosary that she made there was commitment and dedication, but also the hope that things will improve for her, since she has learned from her mistakes. "The benefits obtained through the sale of these rosaries", Father Gaspar continued, "will be shared with the prisoners who have been part of this program called 'productive prisons' ".
Unfortunately, as already happened in Colombia for the Pope's visit, some sectors of the population have created a smear campaign, spread through social networks, call into question the costs of the Papal visit in Peru. In this regard, the spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Lima for the visit of the Pope, Fr. Miguel Angel Vassallo, explained to Fides: "these activities that the Church proposes to raise funds are not compulsory, donations depend on the generosity of the individual". "The Church - he continued - needs means to cover its expenses. We have to pack a hundred chasubles, thousands of hosts, as well as prepare the chapels. This is why we carry out a voluntary collection in parishes, but if anyone does not want to collaborate, he is not obliged, in the end God will provide".
The Peruvian government has allocated over 37 million soles (9 million euros) for the Pope’s visit.
After 30 years, Francis is the second Pope to visit Peru, which has about 31 million inhabitants and where, according to the last census, 26 million declare themselves Catholics. (DB) (Agenzia Fides, 8/1/2018)