The following is the text of the video message that the Holy Father Francis sent to the Centre for University Students of the Federal Penitentiary Complex of Ezeiza, Argentina:
Video Message of the Holy Father
To my friends who belong to the Centre for University Students of Ezeiza, a warm greeting, a greeting that evokes those Sunday telephone calls I make to the prison. I am aware of all your activities and the existence of this space inspires great joy in me – a space for work, for culture, for progress, it is a sign of humanity. And it would not be possible for it to exist if there were not people of great human sensibility among the inmates, prison staff, directors, judges, members of the University of Buenos Aires and the students. Thank you.
Now a step ahead. They have given an impetus to the opening of the music course. I wish to thank all those who have collaborated in this initiative: the chief Mr. Claudio Segura, the director Mr. Alejandro Gonzalez, the support and backing of the University of Buenos Aires and of the judiciary, especially the secretaries of the Appeals Court, Luis and Victor, and the inmates employed at the Centre for Students – Marcellino, Guille, and Edo – whom I know by telephone. Thank you for everything you have done.
It is a breath of life in the prison, among you. And life – you know this – is a gift, but a gift that we must win every day. They give it to us, but we must earn it every day. We must earn it in every step of life. A gift that it is not easy to conserve. It takes courage every day. Many difficulties – we all have them – but let us care for this gift and make it grow, care for it and make it flourish.
The inmates are serving a sentence, a sentence for a mistake they made. But let us not forget that, so for the sentence to be fruitful there must be a prospect of hope, otherwise it remains closed in on itself and is simply an instrument of torture, it is not fruitful. A sentence with hope, however, is fruitful. Hope for social reintegration, and for this, social formation, looking to the future, and this is what you are doing. With this new music course you are looking towards social reintegration, and already you are reintegrating through studies, with the University of Buenos Aires, you are looking towards social reintegration. It is a sentence with hope, a sentence with prospects. I would like to say again, there are and there will be problems, but the horizon is greater than the problems, and hope overcomes all problems.
Dear friends, I pray for you, I keep you close to my heart, and I ask you not to forget to do so for me. God bless you, and keep going, always with a smile. Until the next call!