Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in the number of cases inside the Picassent penitentiary centre, the prison ministry activities were cancelled from 25 December 2021 until March 2022. This April, the prison ministry is trying to resume its normal activities without forgetting the context of the pandemic in which we still find ourselves.
The Redemptorist community of Valencia, which is part of this prison ministry, has resumed its visits to the prison to accompany and celebrate with the prisoners, who are genuinely abandoned in our time and context. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the work of the prison chaplains has multiplied because it is impossible, because of the health measures taken by the centre, to bring together modules to celebrate the Eucharist, which means that it must be celebrated in each module. The celebrations are less well attended, but the atmosphere is more intimate and closer.
Let us remember that the Penitentiary Pastoral in Valencia is a commitment that the Redemptorists undertook some time ago:
On 15 October 2012, in the presence of the Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Missionaries at that time, Fr Pedro López, and the Auxiliary Bishop of Valencia, Monsignor Enrique Benavent, the Casa Scala, a reception centre for third-grade prisoners, was inaugurated in the Valencian district of La Punta.
The initiative was set up by the Prison Pastoral of the Archbishopric of Valencia and the Redemptorist Missionaries who work in the Picassent prison and attend the parishes of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Nazaret and Inmaculada de La Punta. The project’s aim was, and it continues to be, to offer a home to those who are preparing themselves to leave prison, and they do not have the resources to live or to find work in the first moments.
The “Scala Home” is located in La Punta, in a house owned by the Archbishopric that has been restored thanks to the financial contribution of the Redemptorist Missionaries (as can be read in the news item “Casa Scala, a second chance”, published in 2015).