2017-03-16 Vatican Radio
Prison Ministry India (PMI), headquartered in Bangalore, in southern India’s Karnataka state, is a nation-wide voluntary organization, operating under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), for the release, renewal and rehabilitation of all prisoners, irrespective of religion, caste or nationality. To know more about Prison Ministry India we talked on the phone with its national coordinator, Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan. Last week, in the first of a 2-part interview, Fr. Sebastian narrated how PMI was initiated. In late 1981, two philosophy students, Varghese Karippery and Francis Kodiyan of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary in Vadavathoor in Southern India’s Kerala state, had an unusual spiritual experience that urged them to become “a love-bomb… to heal the broken hearts." Subsequently, inspired by a Protestant prison ministry, a group of 12 brothers and a priest began ministering to prisoners in the jails of Kerala. Thus Prison Ministry India was officially established on 1 March 1986.
Fr. Sebastian also explained how PMI is organized across the country. Altogether, there are over 850 PMI branches or units involving some 6000 well-wishers, donors and volunteers. The prison ministry also has 33 rehabilitation centres for men, women as well as children run by various religious congregations and Catholic groups all over the country. Each year Prison Ministry Sunday is observed on the Sunday before the August 14 feast of St. Kolbe, to create awareness and support for prisoners and their problems and needs. PMI has numerous programmes both inside and outside prisons.
Well today, Fr. Sebastian begins the final of this 2-part interview explaining that for funding its numerous ministries and programmes, PMI largely depends on what he described as ‘begging’.(from Vatican Radio)