I have the opportunity to be visiting the Association for the Assistance of Convicts, APAC, in Santa Luzia, which is basically a prison detention center, but not just like any detention center. Does it hold privileged people? No. Does it hold investments of the rich and the powerful? No. It is a center made available by the proposal of Dr. Mario Ottoboni: no one is unredeemable. This is pure Gospel.
From the very first impression one perceives that things are different: one of the inmates is the doorkeeper of a detention center with 120 “criminals,” and holds the keys both to the main door and the doors to the closed and semi-closed sectors. Once you enter, it seems that these “criminals” have, among other things, different faces: peace, joy, goodness, repentance, charity, deep and sincere desires of redemption.
Here, no one is a criminal, but all are REDEEMABLE, a very precise word, exacted and necessary as the initial step to ensure that whoever one day made a mistake will not go back to that same state. John 8:11 “She answered, No one, Lord.” Jesus then told her: “Neither will I. Go and sin no more.”
For sure, there is a method, the APAC method, to work seriously in the re-insertion of recovered people in society.
With God’s help, together with the CLM Alejo Ramirez, for the past 20 years we have been helping in an enlightening project of interpreting Spanish texts, so that some of the inmates may take the ENEM test and with it continue their plans to attend the university after APAC. For the time being, we continue throughout the year 2020 with plans of major human and social importance.
To live among men who may have committed any type of barbarous acts, but who want to change their lives, and some of them without formal education, but each day trying to study, work, paint, and learn some trades, is a courageous thing. Actually, more than courage, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s mercy, never merited but always unconditional, in a climate of strict rules in conjunction with the family of the inmate and local society.
I thank God for the opportunity of being able to embrace and see in the eyes of these men, who are always so grateful, the joy when once again we come to visit them. If God believes in humanity, who are we not to believe in it?”