Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 3, 1974
Special Liturgy at Penitentiary
By Michael Motes
Archbishop Donnellan went to those confined members of his flock during the holidays when approximately 250 Spanish-speaking inmates of the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta were treated to a special program of music and celebration of the Eucharist.
Inmate artists began preparation several months ago on paintings depicting some saints to who the Mass was dedicated Santisima Virgen De Regla (the Blessed Virgin of Regla), Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (our Lady of Guadalupe) and Santa Barbara. The paintings were done by Roberta Vega, Ricardo Boroto and Rosendo Diaz.
Archbishop Donnellan was principal concelebrant at the Mass with Franciscan Fathers Raimundo Solano and Raphael McDonald, who delivered the homily. Father Urban Cain, OFM, prison chaplain, served as master of ceremonies.
Choosing as his topic The Search for God, Father Raphael told the inmates, We start with vast literature about the spiritual search for God.
He suggested that inmates obtain from Father Urban The Soliloquies of Saint Augustine and Saint Bonaventures Itinerarium Mentis in Deum (That the Visible Manifest the Invisible).
Speaking on the latter, Father Raphael said, The world is actually Gods handbook of creation every tree and stone, flower and bush actually can and does lift his mind up to God. This is the beginning of the search for God, a climbing of a stepladder to heaven.
This gives the peace that no prison bars can take away from you. This can break the confining chains that bind you to earth. It is a recipe for both sanctity and sanity, he said.
In his homily he also discussed the God Is Dead philosophy emphasizing the many ways that man daily can see that God does live.
Music for the two-hour-and-15-minute celebration was provided by the Spanish choir from Sacred Heart in Atlanta under the direction of Jose Montero.
Following Mass, Archbishop Donnellan, the Franciscan priests, choir members and two visiting Bethlehem nuns, Sisters Teresa and Georgina from Colombia, greeted the inmates.
The sisters found 12 fellow countrymen among those attending the celebration and discussed their native Colombia with them.
Father Raphael, who heads the archdiocesan Resettlement Services office, was most impressed by some of the Sacred Heart Choir members during the penitentiary services.
Several persons had tears in their eyes, he said. They were remembering members of their own family and friends who are still behind bars in Cuba as political prisoners of the Castro regime.