Constructing confessionals a step towards freedom

Some of the prisoners who have built the confessionals for WYD 2019 (WYD Panama)

Prisoners in Panama have been busy building 250 confessionals that will be used during World Youth Day 2019, to be held in the country in January. Source: WYD Panama.

Inmates from La Joya and la Nueva Joya penitentiaries have constructed the confessionals that will be installed in Panama City’s biggest park, which will be known as the “Garden of Forgiveness” during the event.

The Garden of Forgiveness is a place where pilgrims can receive the sacrament of Reconciliation and are given the chance to “renew themselves”.

One inmate who helped build the confessionals, along with 34 others, said it was not just a “simple carpentry job”. Instead it is a feeling of being included in this project for youth, who face significant social risk – as do prisoners – but can “still choose a different path.”

The building workshop offered the men not only moments of learning and teamwork, but also of quiet reflection and opportunities for developing self-confidence. These are skills that will be invaluable once they gain their physical freedom.

Another prisoner, Jesús Ramos, was certain that he would spend his full sentence inside the four walls with his Bible as his only companion. Instead, he was chosen to participate in this initiative. Despite not being Catholic, he said he is sure of the valuable contribution that World Youth Day will leave the young people of the world.

“I am an evangelical and I am grateful that I was considered for this because here I have learned to use the tools and to work in a respectful environment, all together towards a common goal. Thanks to the WYD, I feel included and happy to work for God,” he said.


WYD confessionals - stepping towards freedom (WYD Panama)

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