The “Bridges of Hope” conference title speaks to the need for building a bridge that provides pastoral care for the incarcerated.
The role of individual volunteers, as well as parish and diocesan ministries, is crucial in creating this bridge. Furthermore, they are bridges in their own persons, bringing the Catholic community on the outside to an encounter with Catholics in prison.
Bridge building is a frequent theme of Pope Francis, as is the importance of encountering Christ’s “least ones”: “In the social and civil context, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges. To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offence with forgiveness.” (February 8, 2017).