“Christmas at the Makati City Jail” by Jolly Gomez

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The Single Young Adults and the JPIC Prison Ministry held their annual Christmas gift giving activity with 600 male and female inmates at the Makati City Jail. The activity started with a mass officiated by Fr. Joel Sulse OFM and attended by SYA members together with PPC President Jayme Blanco.

During the homily of the mass, members of the SYA community were able to share their stories of conversion on what Jesus had done in their lives and why they are active in church. One of the inmates gave a response which was as follows: “My crime was carnapping, I would use duplicate keys to open cars in a parking lot and drivethem away. I was a poor man that had very few opportunities, when I would walk in the mall, I see rich people who look at poor people like us like we were invisible. This is why I did not feel bad about stealing their cars. In MCJ I have realized that Jesus still loves me. I met members from SYA who are from Forbes Park who take time out to talk to me and share about Jesus. Maybe this is why I was caught and put in jail, I am sad that I am not with my family but happy that I have found Jesus.”

The message of Fr. Joel was about the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus and how this doesn’t just happen during Christmas but every day of the year. This is why the parish continues its ministry all throughout the year with masses, bible class, special events, and legal assistance. This ministry does these activities all year round and not only during Christmas time.

Each inmate received a plastic box with a T-shirt, slippers, towel, toiletries, a few snacks and a rosary. We were also able to provide each cell with pancit and one lechon. Much of these funds were raised by SYAers who set aside some money every month for the Prison Ministry. Other funds came from the Parish through the different fund raising activities throughout the year. The gifts may have been very small to us but meant so much to many inmates who have very little and for some who did not have any visitors this Christmas.

Like in the gospel story of the Multiplication of the Loaves, after giving every one their share (including the prison guards) we had 40 packs left over. We decided to share it with the security guards and maintenance personnel in our parish. God is truly generous and his graces are bountiful.