Archbishop takes Christmas to the Prison

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Home > Media > News > Archbishop takes Christmas to the Prison
Archbishop takes Christmas to the Prison

Archbishop Adrian Doyle continued one of the oldest traditions of the Catholic Church in Tasmania, visiting Risdon Prison on Friday 21 December to celebrate Christmas Mass with the prisoners.

The Archbishop celebrated Mass in both the women’s and men’s prisons. Around 30 prisoners, as well as the Director of the Tasmanian Prison Service, Barry Greenberry, and other officers joined the congregation.

The Masses were highlighted by a special blessing provided by the Archbishop to two new babies born to mothers in the women’s prison.

Archbishop Doyle, who recently celebrated his 76th birthday, has been visiting the prison twice a year since his appointment 14 years ago.

He said the visits were important to remind prisoners that they had not been forgotten and to provide them with hope for a better future, especially on occasions such as Christmas.

Mr Greenberry welcomed the Archbishop and said his visits were very significant for ongoing efforts to connect the prison to the community.

There was intense media interest in what may be the Archbishop’s last formal visit to the prison, with his visit covered by the ABC (for both TV and radio), both commercial TV channels, the Mercury and Examiner.

Archbishop Doyle’s involvement with the prison continues a Church tradition which started with the first Catholic Bishop in Tasmania, Robert Willson, who arrived in the Colony in 1844. 

Bishop Willson, who was known as the Convicts’ Friend, was a constant visitor to prisons, prison hulks and probation stations, and campaigned for more humane treatment of convicts, reform of the prison system and an end to transportation.