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Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Rome's Regina Coeli prison on March 29, 2018. Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Rome's Regina Coeli prison on March 29, 2018.   (ANSA)

Synod Fathers visiting Rome’s Regina Coeli prison

The Synod Fathers are visiting the Regina Coeli prison as part of the “Liberi nel’Arte” project that works for the reintegration of prisoners.

By Robin Gomes

Synod Fathers participating in the world Synod of Bishops on young people, taking place in the Vatican, are visiting Rome’s famous Regina Coeli prison, Saturday evening, where they will be treated to a cultural and artistic show.

Present along with the Synod participants will be representatives of institutions, civil society, young people and volunteers.

The October 3-28 Synod of the Bishops has as its theme, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.”

The highlight of the October 20 event at Regina Coeli prison, not far from the Vatican, will be a concert by the “Div4s Sopranos”, a female vocal quartet.  It will also include  reading  of excerpts from speeches of Popes who have visited the prison.

The event is part of what is called the “Liberi nell’Arte” (Free in Art) project sponsored by the Italian Catholic Press Union (UCSI) of Molise region, in collaboration with Vatican News, Shy Arte, Italy’s Ministry of Justice and the inspectorate general of Italy’s prison chaplains. 

The "Liberi nell'arte " initiative aims to promote the reintegration of prisoners into the labour market and into society through art.  

Art ushering in goodness, beauty, hope

In a note, "Liberi nell'arte " explained that “in the theatre of  ‘human and social peripheries’”, Saturday evening's event, will be a moment that will be remembered as the “beginning of a new path in the heart of the Synod, where art meets suffering and becomes the spokesperson of a message of beauty and hope for all.”

Father Raffaele Grimaldi, the inspector general of Italy’s prison chaplains has appealed to the Synod Fathers urging that a special attention be paid to prisoners in the Synod’s final document.

Commenting on “Liberi nell’Arte’, the priest said it is an initiative that reaches out to prisoners to give them a taste of their freedom. Through art, music and culture, he said, prisoners are helped to establish a relationship with things good and beautiful.

The artists who will be performing said they will be “interpreters of a message of love, beauty and joy.”  “It will also be an opportunity for joy and sharing that, we hope, will instil in them courage and the right determination to be able to rebuild their own path," they said.

Allowing beauty enter prisons

The purpose of  “Liberi nell’Arte” is to allow beauty into prisons in order to elevate the soul, explained Fr. Grimaldi to SIR news agency.  “Art,” he said, “is important because when a person lives in an “environment of misery and low culture”, beauty, art and culture help him to get out of certain schemes.  “Liberi nell’Arte”, he continued, “helps beauty enter the prisons” so that young people can ask themselves how they have lived their lives so far and encourage them to change paths.

Fr. Grimaldi said the project was born after Italy’s juvenile prison chaplains wrote a letter in March to the directors of youth ministry of Italian dioceses asking them what they could do for young people in prison, on the occasion of the Synod of Bishops.

The artistic and cultural programme of “Liberi nell’Arte” is currently being held from 18 to 25 October in four prisons of Italy’s Lazio region.  It includes music, live opera performances and screening of art films.

On Thursday the women’s prison of Rebbibia watched a film on Michelangelo and on Friday  the  Casal del Marmo juvenile prison watch a show called the “Last Judgement.”  The concert by “Div4s Sopranos” is featuring of Saturday at Regina Coeli and on October 25, a film on Caravaggio will be screened at Paliano prison.

20 October 2018, 14:21