What is Prisoners’ Sunday?

Prisoners’ Sunday - this year on 11th October - is the national day of prayer and action for prisoners and their dependants as marked by the Catholic Church and across the Christian denominations. It is a day to direct our thoughts and prayers to prisoners, their families and children. Prisoners’ Sunday is the time to reflect on how we as individuals, as a Church and as a community are serving those affected by imprisonment.

Prisoners’ families, prisoners and people with previous convictions often find themselves on the margins of society due to the social stigma associated with imprisonment. They are often forgotten or come lower down on the list of causes to ‘hold a hand out to’. But the gospel of Matthew 25: 36 reminds us of our duties towards them:

I was naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

Pact’s work embodies the Christian value of mercy and belief in the innate dignity of every human being. Through this campaign we ask you to engage with a core element of Catholic social teaching and put our faith into action.

Watch the video below to find out more about Prisoners' Sunday and how you can mark the day:

What is Prisons Week?

Prisoners’ Sunday marks the first day of the ecumenical Prisons Week, a week of prayer which raises awareness of issues faced by those affected by the criminal justice system.

Prisons Week was founded by Bishop Victor Guazzelli in 1975. Since then, Prisons Week has prepared prayer literature to enable the Christian community to pray for the needs of all those affected by prisons: prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, those working in the in the criminal justice system and the many people who are involved in caring for those affected by crime on the inside and outside of prisons.

What are the prayers for Prisons Week?

For families of prisoners: We pray for those loved ones who serve a hidden sentence as a result of the shame associated with having a family member imprisoned. In times of darkness we pray they are able go beyond the bonds of societal stigma and maintain positive relationships with their loved ones.

For those who work in the criminal justice system: Let us pray for those who work throughout the criminal justice system. May they continue to go beyond in their work towards creating a safer society and promote justice and mercy on the road to rehabilitation.

For victims of crime: May they be supported to go beyond their victimhood and find comfort in God’s love. Teach us to be mindful of the impact of our actions on others. Lead us and heal us in your journey to new life and hope.

For prisoners: We pray for those who are prisoners. Through reflection and understanding, may they be able to go beyond their sentence and see hope for a future without crime. Let us follow Christ’s message and reach out so that his presence be known by those who seek him.

How can I find out more?

We hope that you will join us in marking this day and thank you for your ongoing support.