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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Cardiff prison chaplaincy in Easter podcast
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 Inmates from Cardiff prison and their Roman Catholic chaplain have helped BBC Religious Programmes take a step into the world of podcasting. Podcasts are radio programmes that can be downloaded automatically via the internet from anywhere in the world and listened to via i-Pods and other MP3 players. As part of a trial, a special BBC website is offering a diverse selection of programmes from a variety of radio stations as podcasts. The multi-award winning weekly BBC Radio Wales series All Things Considered has been chosen as the first BBC religious programme to be podcast. In a remarkable programme for Easter Sunday, All Things Considered producer Lisa Hawkins recorded prisoners and members of the chaplaincy explaining the special impact of Easter on Cardiff Prison. The prison's Roman Catholic chaplain Julia Houlston-Clark says that aspects of the Easter message can be especially painful for prisoners to deal with. "Life isn't about resurrection all the time. You have to go through the loss and you have to go through the suffering before you can know what resurrection is all about. "It's not about quick-fix forgiveness. More often than not, it's a long, hard slog. The long, hard slog for the prisoners is the time they are doing in prison." So why does believing in the Easter message of resurrection make any difference to a life behind bars? An answer comes from a man serving the third year of a sentence for drug-dealing who says that prisoners are able to contrast their own experiences with those of Christ: "When you're standing in the dock and you are being put to trial, you've got to pay for your sins and you've got to pay your dues. Jesus did that for us. The whole story of Easter lifts me. There's a lot we can look up and take from it." Julia Houlston-Clark's Anglican colleague Mark John explains how prisoners exchange palm crosses on Palm Sunday, how he washes the feet of a group of prisoners on Maundy Thursday and how the message of redemption can make the annual Easter Sunday service the most moving of the year in the prison chapel.
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