Visit to Cenacolo
Freedom and Hope
, for those who who are involved with prisoners and their families, took as its theme 'Repentance and Forgiveness'.

This year's group was small, but included a vast range of experience of prison chaplaincy, social work, prison visiting, work in restorative justice, and work with resettling offenders.

Fr Roger Reader, the Catholic Bishops' Prisons Adviser, spoke on our first evening, about his experience of repentance and forgiveness when working as a chaplain.

Fr Dixie and Sr Margaret provided some theological input with reflections on The Prodigal Son, and on Augustine's understanding of repentance. Finally, Stephen Hawkins came from Liverpool to talk about his work with the Sycamore Tree project. This provides six-week courses for prisoners on restorative justice, which take seriously the needs of both the victims and the offenders.

It enables offenders fully to acknowledge their own offences through hearing victims tell their own stories, and then to find ways of making reparation and seeking reconciliation. (For more, see Sycamore Tree project)

Another highlight of the week was a visit to our local Cenacolo community, where we joined the lads for Mass and heard Andrea and Fr Chris speak about their work and life (see www.comunitacenacolo.org/ ).

Visit to CenacoloVisit to Cenacolo

As always, we shared prayer together both as a group and with the Sisters (thank you to Fr Peter for his sermons), and enjoyed conversation over meals and in the evenings. On one afternoon the group also watched A Long Walk to Freedom, and on another went up to the Lake Windermere for a picnic, short walk and tea.