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A Couple In Prison - Part 2

They keep us going too!

While providing inspiration themselves, Susan and Romy admit that the people they serve inspire them even more. “What inspires us is seeing these men and women energized after listening to a sharing or teaching. We see even the hardest hearts soften up and we realize that only God can really transform his children!”

Susan and Romy often remind the inmates not to focus on the people serving them, but to focus only on God.” We tell them not to be disheartened when we fail them, because we are only humans who are struggling like them. We are also sinful like them, assuring them that it is okay to approach us whenever we unintentionally hurt their feelings.”

Working together

The Prison Ministry of CFC works hand in hand with many existing groups doing the same function. The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC), the main umbrella organization, supports CFC's work. Other groups such as the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CAD) and the Volunteers in Prison (VIP) help implement various programs and outreach activities.

Yes to the vision!

CFC's work in prisons started with one city jail. The increasing awareness of the role of the church and its concern for the poor, the oppressed and victims of injustice has led CFC to quickly expand its ministry. Today, CFC in 26 provinces have put in place their own prison ministry work. Romy envisions that this work will continue well into the future and that more brothers and sisters would see the urgency of the work and respond to the call. Romy is calling on lawyers and members of the St. Thomas More and Associates (STMA) and other CFC social ministries to help the Prison Ministry bring its plans to full fruition. One of these plans is a halfway house for released prisoners who have no family to go back to or those who simply opt to stay in prison. The half-way house would serve as a sanctuary for people who consider themselves outcasts of society, where they would continue to live as a cohesive community and engage in meaningful livelihood projects.

Such commitment and passion to serve does not come easy for those who are half-hearted. Romy and Susan exemplify the stout-hearted, fearless breed of renewed Christians who boldly go where others dare not. Would that there were many others like them so that God's work may prosper and bring true lasting peace in this world.

“I found true joy in CFC because I felt God's tremendous love for me. I learned to surrender myself to God, to forgive and love others. My husband was healed of his nervous breakdown after brothers and sisters from CFC prayed for him. My three children are also able to continue their studies. One of them, a scholar, even graduated with a BSC Accounting degree!” – Marjorie Martines-Arceo, (case: Estafa. She is on the 9th year of her 30-year sentence).

“CFC helped me not only with my spiritual needs, but with my material needs as well. After my CLP, I experienced so many spiritual blessings and I became closer to my family. I consider this experience as a “spiritual retreat” as I learned how to pray and reform from my sinful ways. My message is for everybody to be steadfast in faith and keep close to the Lord.” Josie Marquesas (case: Estafa. She is on the 3rd year of her 30-year sentence. She is a mother to 4 daughters).

“After personally knowing the Lord, I learned to accept that what happened was His will for me. I also learned to surrender everything to Him. Though I am a prisoner, CFC loves me, cares for me and treats me as a sister. I am at peace now because I always remember to rely on God alone, to keep praying and to have faith in Him.” - Elma Romero (case: Illegal Recruitment. She is on the 4th year of her 10-year sentence).

“CFC taught me how to accept and deal with life's difficulties, as well as gave me spiritual and moral support. I just hope that I'll be released so I can be with my children again. I am so happy because CFC members visit my children tool My wish is for people to stop judging us. My message is for all to offer sacrifices to God, and not to forget to call on Him.”- Norma Cabral (case: Estafa. She is on the 8th year of her life sentence. Norma, a widow with three kids, stood as guarantor to someone else's debts and blames her lawyer's negligence for her incarceration. Norma is a secretary of the inmates and a trustee of the Correctional administration, assigned to maintain the upkeep of the chapel.)

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