The Rt Rev Peter Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham celebrates the First Mass
at the Newly Opened HMP Berwyn
The Rt Rev Peter Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham celebrated the first Mass at the newly opened ‘Super Prison’ HMP Berwyn in Wrexham at the weekend. Also in attendance was the Catholic Chaplain, Sr Teresa Clarke and the prison Chaplain Manager Rev Alan Pierce Jones.
The £212 million category C prison which was opened on the 28th February 2017 will house up to 2,106 offenders, making it the largest in Europe.
Speaking about prison chaplaincy, Bishop Peter said ‘The place of chaplaincy to prisoners is in part fulfilment of the implied command of Jesus 'to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick and those in prison', as well as being hugely important for their rights, the making of restitution and their rehabilitation. I am pleased to have played some small part in that by celebrating the first Mass in HMP Berwyn, praying as we did for the men, the prison staff and all affected by crime -victims, prisoner’s families and society as a whole.’
There are over 85,000 men and women in prison in England and Wales today with an estimated 15,000 who are Catholic. The Church has an unbroken history, through the centuries and across the world, of visiting and ministering to those in prison.
Bishop Peter said ‘The work of those ministering from different religions and faiths must also be an example for those within and without the prison of how together there is potential to build a better society for ourselves built on justice, respect, repentance, forgiveness and honesty in response to the compassionate love of God offered in Jesus Christ to us all.’
HMP Berwyn will initially house a few hundred men before eventually reaching its full capacity which is likely to be later this year.