Prisoners in Mountjoy have today, Tue, Nov 25,’09 put their own hand-made Christmas cards on the market. The proceeds from the sales will go to an orphanage in Calcutta linked with the Jesuits in Gardiner St Church. The prisoners are all participants in a Jesuit programme organised by Slí Eile, the Jesuit Outreach to Young People. Eoghan Keogh, projects worker with Sli Eile, meets with the prisoners every Wednesday, and they explore the area of spirituality in their lives.
According to one prisoner, “One night we were discussing the idea of been loved unconditionally by God and what that meant for us. We also watched a video with footage from an orphanage in Calcutta where we seen people working with and taking care of some of the world’s most excluded and vulnerable people. We were quite moved and noticed that stuff we take for granted would be a luxury in some parts of the world. So from this we came up with an idea to try and give something back. We thought to try and make Christmas cards and sell them and try to raise enough money to maybe buy Christmas dinner for one of these orphanages. We designed the cards and we call our project the ‘Joy to the World.’ “
At the Gospel Choir Mass in Gardiner St Church on Sunday, Nov 23,’09, that prisoners’ story and appeal was read out and it concluded,”If you would like to help us spread joy to the world there will be someone selling Christmas cards after mass. All the proceeds go directly to charity. We would welcome any support. God Bless.”
According to Eoghan Keogh a large number of the congregation bought the cards. “The art work, design and poems in the cards are all the prisoners’ own work. The Sli Eile team does the printing. We had a very successful sale at the Gospel Choir mass last night, attended by hundreds of people. We will continue to sell the cards in our offices just across the road from the Gardiner St Church”.