Pact for Parishes Parish support Parish Support Many thousands of individuals support our work each year. Included are many Catholic parishes, religious orders and other Christian denominations and faith groups who share our mission to support prisoners and their families to make a fresh start. If you, like us, believe in the importance of respect for the innate dignity and worth of every human being, and believe in the possibility of their rehabilitation and redemption, no matter what they have done, you may wish to support us too. This work is a direct expression of our discipleship and a very concrete expression of our desire to serve the Lord in those who are most vulnerable Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Pact's President Prisoners and their families are often some of the most socially excluded people in our society. Even for people of faith they are often forgotten or come lower down on a list of causes to “hold a hand out to”. For Pact, having supported hundreds of thousands of prisoners and their families for over a century, we have seen the tangible and lasting benefits of supportive, non-judgemental intervention. Pact is the leading Catholic charity, supported by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, working in prisons and communities across both nations. There are very many ways in which you can help to support Pact’s mission. We are always happy to discuss your ideas with you and to share with you successful things individuals and groups have done in the past to support our work. You may also wish to take a look at the fundraising pages on this site. Below are a few ideas for starters: Discussion Groups Raising the subject of prisoners and their families is often a good starting point to enable people to begin to think about the reality of the issues that can arise when a friend or loved one is in prison. It is also worth remembering just how many people around us, including our own parishioners, will be directly affected. Priests and other faith leaders can use the very many passages from scripture to address the issues in homilies and weekly newsletters. Social Justice, prayer and other parish groups can focus on the subject, perhaps at specific times in the Church calendar such as Lent. Support for children Throughout the year, especially at Christmas, Pact organises presents and gifts for children who are living with a parent or guardian in prison. Apart from the emotional trauma that this can cause to a child it can also quickly lead to severe poverty, especially if the imprisoned parent was the main income generator for the family. We have been supported in providing presents and gifts in the past by groups such as Caritas Westminster. If you, your parish, or organisation would like to help us in this activity please contact us via the details below. Volunteering Giving your time is one of the most important and precious gifts you can offer. Befriending a prisoner or a member of their family can positively transform lives and help to keep families together for a happier future. If you or members of your parish would like to be trained as a Pact volunteer to directly work with prisoners and their families, offering mentoring and support, either in custody or in the community please see our volunteering section on this site. Fundraising and financial support Statutory support for our work is very limited and becoming harder to obtain. Pact depends on the very generous support of individuals and parishes to continue to deliver our range of services and support. We are always delighted to see the diverse and imaginative fundraising ideas that our supporters come up with! A straightforward retiring collection is an easy and quick way to support us but others have chosen more active community events such as coffee mornings, raffles, cheese and wine evenings, race nights and sponsored activities. Our fundraising pages on this site may offer you additional inspiration but whatever you decide to do we can assure you that every pound donated will be spent on maintaining and developing our work. Prayer At Pact we believe in the power of prayer and would strongly encourage you to remember us and those we work to support in your individual or parish prayers. Lord Jesus Christ, You have come so that we may have life to the full, Listen to our prayers for all in prison and their families, Touched by your spirit, May they find newness of heart and be open to that new life that is found only in you. May they know care, and receive support from those around them. May they find new purpose in serving you in their brothers and sisters. Amen Written by Rt. Rev. Richard Moth, Liaison Bishop for Prisons Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales. Further Information Pact has a range of resources that may help you. Many of these can be found on this site but for additional resources or help please contact Pact’s Parish and Supporter Relations Manager at our London Central Office on 0207 735 9535 or email on [email protected]. Fresh Start Check out our latest edition of Fresh Start, our quarterly support newsletter where you can find case studies, updates on our work, volunteering opportunities and supporter news.