SALT LAKE CITY – The Hispanic Prison Ministry this Advent season will be bringing a special visitor to the jails in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
In observance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an image of Our Lady was sent from the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to visit the Salt Lake County Metro and Oxbow jails.
“The image is considered a Class 3 relic because it has touched the original,” said Deacon Joaquin Mixco, a member of the jail ministry.
The image came to Utah as part of “the efforts that we are always looking to help and support the inmates,” said Deacon Mixco, adding that this special effort of the jail ministry is based on Bishop Robert Barron’s words about the light of the Virgin Mary being a reflective light for all:
“It’s really hard to see a reflection in the sun, but in the moon we always find a special reflection. … This is how Our Lady is a reflection of God’s love and his compassion for all.”
With these efforts, Deacon Mixco said that the members of the jail ministry are trying to reconnect “our brothers in jail with their faith and with the realization that Our Lady is the one who intercedes for all of us. … She knows our sorrows and she wants to heal us and bring us closer to our Lord.”
The Diocese of Salt Lake City Jail Ministry is in cooperation with the Utah Department of Corrections. According to the Oxbow Jail web page, their inmates are low-risk, non-violent offenders who can enroll in educational courses and receive treatment for addiction and substance abuse some of the offenders housed in the jail also work in the community, earning wages to pay their fines and restitutions.
The men, women and juveniles at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail are either awaiting trial or have been sentenced by the courts to jail time of one year or less.
“Volunteers ensure the Department is able to meet the spiritual needs of inmates while maintaining a separation of church and state. There are more than two dozen religious affiliations claimed by inmates in state custody. To meet their spiritual needs, volunteers oversee a variety of activities, programs, scripture study and educational courses, prayer and worship services. Faiths and spiritual practices represented at the state prisons include: Asatru, Atheist, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Islam/Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Latter-Day Saint/Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist, Native American, Pentecostal, Protestant and Wicca,” states the Utah Department of Corrections web page.
After visiting the jails the morning of Dec. 10, the image will be carried in procession from the West Valley City library to Saints Peter and Paul Church. A Mass of Supplication for prisoners then will be celebrated. All are welcome to join the procession and attend Mass.
WHAT: Mass of Supplication for prisoners
WHEN: Sunday Dec. 10, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church
3560 West 3650 South, West Valley City
Preceding the Mass will be a procession with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The procession will begin at 5 p.m. at the West Valley Library, 2880 West 3650 South, and continue to the church. All are welcome to participate.