After the General Audience, the Pope greeted a group of Argentine lawyers, seven inmates from Lecce, and Leopoldo Lopez Gil, father of a Venezuelan dissident in jail for two years now, Leopoldo Lopez, and Vanessa, daughter of former Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma who is a convicted too. Osservatore Romano gives the news, adding that Alejandro Slokar, president of Argentina’s Cámara Federal de Casación Penal, brought the Pope a crucifix made by women inmates of the Argentine penitentiary called ‘Ezeiza’, in the province of Buenos Aires. Archbishop Domenico Umberto D’Ambrosio and ‘Caritas’ Chief Father Elvi De Magistris – the Vatican newspaper goes on – presented the project concerning the prisoners from Lecce to the Pope.
The initiative, which has been implemented together with the ‘Madonna di Roca’ Foundation, concerns seven prisoners: Francesco, Giacomo, Salvatore, Antonio Costanzo, Umberto, and George Alin. “In the structure that shelters them, which the diocese uses for retreats and training sessions, the inmates carry out agricultural work. Currently, they are also renovating an old ruin”, the Archbishop said. “There are plenty of volunteer initiatives for the poor and meetings for spiritual development,” Father De Magistris adds. The prisoners from Lecce had sent a letter to the Pope a year ago to tell him about their experience. And Francis replied with an invitation for them and their families, together with the prison warden, the supervisory judges, the police commander of the prison administration, and the head of the Office of external penal execution.