APRIL 22, 2016 - Check out our new blog post: "Everything is Grace" by Dr. Bill Smith
MARCH 4, 2016 - A MESSAGE FROM FATHER MIKE KENNEDY, SJ:
During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has demonstrated through several encounters with prisoners from all over the world, that he keeps them close to his heart and in prayer. Moved by these moments of compassion, a young man (Carlos) incarcerated at Sylmar Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, wrote to the Pope asking for forgiveness and mercy for his mistakes.
Amazingly, he received a reply from Pope Francis himself in the form of a letter, which brought hope to many other young people who are locked up. CNN did a story on this great event and we invite you to read it and watch a short video about Carlos's journey to transformation, healing and hope, which reminds us of God's unconditional love and compassion for all people.
We are grateful to be a part of this, the collective work of chaplains, volunteers and prison reform advocates who provide many hidden moments of service to those who are in our overcrowded jails and prisons.
We are grateful to our Holy Father and the deep movement of the Spirit.
Father Mike Kennedy, SJ and the JRJI Team
VIA CNN NEWS:
Pope Replies To Letter From Juvenile Inmate In Los Angeles
By Michael Martinez and Jaqueline Hurtado, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) - Convicted juvenile Carlos Adrian Vazquez Jr. lost the will to live at age 16 as he began serving an 11-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
Then he wrote a letter to Pope Francis. "I asked for forgiveness for what I did," Vazquez told CNN en Español in an interview inside juvenile jail. To his surprise, the Pontiff wrote back. [ READ MORE... ]
JANUARY 24, 2016 - DOORS OF MERCY BLESSED AT BARRY J. NIDORF JUVENILE HALL IN SYLMAR, CALIFORNIA
Yesterday, Sunday, January 24, 2016, was a very special day for the JRJI Community at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California. Archbishop José H. Gomez, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, visited our facility and extended Pope Francis's Year of Mercy to the young boys and girls. He declared the doors to the chapel and several units as "Doors of Mercy". In addition to celebrating mass at the chapel, the Archbishop, accompanied by Father Mike Kennedy, S.J. and Arturo Lopez, co-chaplains at the facility, as well as several volunteers, visited with many of the youth incarcerated here. Each young person told the prelate their name, how long they had been at Sylmar, and the possible sentence they face. Many exclaimed that they faced life sentences at 15, 16, and 17 years old. A poignant moment occurred when a young man read a letter he received directly from the Pope himself. The young person had sent a letter to his Holiness recently asking for his prayers in this year of "Mercy." The Pope answered and not only told the young people that he was praying for them, but he asked for their prayers as well. Yesterday we felt the goodness of the Holy Spirit in our JRJI ministry at Sylmar, California.
We wish to give thanks to Archbishop José H. Gomez for bringing hope, peace and blessing to the youth at Sylmar Juvenile Hall!
READ PRESS COVERAGE:
For incarcerated Sylmar youth, a 'door of mercy' opens
By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News
Door of Mercy opened at Sylmar Juvenile Hall
By R.W. Dellinger, Angelus News, The Tidings Online
VIEW PHOTO GALLERY OF ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ'S PASTORAL VISIT, HERE.
VIEW SHORT VIDEO SEGMENT VIA UNIVISIÓN LOS ÁNGELES, HERE.
2016 UPCOMING EVENTS
May 3: Retreat at Kern Valley State Prison
May 9-10: Retreat at High Desert State Prison
May 16: Retreat at Ironwood State Prison
May 24: Retreat at Calipatria State Prison
Take a ride with Fr. Michael Kennedy, SJ, the Executive Director of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative in Culver City, CA and learn the way JRJI operates in order to restore relationships broken as a result of gang violence and incarceration. Filmed by The Ignatian News Network (2012).
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