Melbourne, 26 December, 2019 / 11:33 am (ACI Africa).
A group of local Catholics gathered outside Melbourne prison on Christmas Eve to sing carols for Cardinal George Pell, currently incarcerated in the facility, and to pray for him, as well as the other inmates and prison staff.
At 8pm on December 24, about two dozen local Catholics gathered outside Melbourne Assessment Prison on the west side of the city center to sing Christmas carols and to pray for the cardinal and others in the jail.
One of the singers, John McCauley told CNA that "We just wanted the Cardinal to know he was loved and remembered at Christmas." The songs included traditional carols like O Come All Ye Faithful and Once in Royal David’s City, as well as Australian favorites like The Three Drovers. Singers wrote messages of support and Christmas greetings in a copy of the carol book, which was left for Pell at the prison’s front desk.
After the caroling, Melbourne’s Vietnamese Catholic Youth Group led a rosary procession around the perimeter of the prison, which houses more than 300 inmates. Decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries were offered for the cardinal, for the prison staff, for the other inmates, for victims of sexual abuse, and for “the vindication of the rights of the Church and His Eminence’s full and speedy exoneration.”
Several of the Vietnamese youth attending explained that they were inspired to attend in support of Pell by the example of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận, who was imprisoned by Communist authorities in Vietnam for 13 years, nine of them in solitary confinement. Pell and Cardinal Thuận were friends until his death in 2002.