Inmates spend quality time with their children
The Valley Catholic
EDINBURG — More than 40 children from throughout the state were recently blessed with the opportunity to spend a day with their fathers inside the Segovia Prison Unit in Edinburg through the annual “Day with Dad” retreat. The project is sponsored by Kolbe Prison Ministry-RGV and the Office of Jail Ministry of the Diocese of Brownsville.
About 90 vetted and trained Catholic volunteers, many from the Caritas couples ministry of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen, guided and supervised the children as they spent quality time with their dads sharing in recreational and faith-based activities. Among the activities were games, arts and crafts and a father-daughter dance — moments created to strengthen the bond between father and child.
The fathers and children also shared a large birthday cake as a way to celebrate birthdays missed.
Adan Loza and his wife, Rosa, who are parishioners of St. Pius X Church in Weslaco and longtime volunteers with the diocesan jail ministry, accompanied a seven-year-old girl as she visited with her father.
“He had not seen her since she was born, so he was beside himself with joy,” Adan Loza said. “She would not let go of her dad. It was the most amazing thing to see.”
Adan Loza said father and daughter crafted a lamp together, which the girl was able to take home as a memento of her special day with her dad.
It was Adan Loza’s second year serving as a volunteer for Day with Dad, which is an adaptation of the “One Day with God” Forgiven Ministry, Inc. program. He said the most poignant part of the day comes at the beginning of the visit, when the children and their fathers run to each other and embrace.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Adan Loza said.
Day with Dad can also help the children repair their relationship with God, said Ofelia de los Santos, director of immigration and jail ministry for the Diocese of Brownsville.
“They not only visit their dad but also help heal that image of the father that has been damaged because the fathers are not there for these children,” she said. “If you heal the image of father with children, they get to learn and to love Our Heavenly Father.”
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