Faith Behind Bars: Sto. Niño Jail Visit

It has been a remarkable moment for Cebu City Jail specifically in the Cebu City Operation Second Chance Center (CCOSCC) to welcome the image of the Holy Child Señor Santo Niño de Cebu.

More than seven years of accepting the image of Santo Niño at CCOSCC creates an emphatic impact to the lives of the juvenile offenders.

From 200 residents in 2017, only 63 of the residents remain and continue to undergo restoration in the current year.

It is clearly apparent that through stimulating spiritual and religious activities inside the young offender institution generates a total transformation to the CCOSCC residents.

Various activities are being provided at CCOSCC and one of the most significant one is conducting religious activities.

A Therapeautic Community Program is one of the activities of CCOSCC that points the essence of oneself which includes celebrating daily masses, conducting bible study, and having morning meetings where the young offenders got the chance to share one’s problems and stories to their peers.

According to Lorenzo Dela Cerna, Chief of Homelife Services and Residents Welfare and Development, all activities they furnish are associated with faith.

“Oo, actually naa mi daily masses ug imong makita sa among calendar nga puno siya sa mga religious activities.” Lorenzo said.

(Yes, actually we have daily masses and as you can see in our calendar, that it’s full of religious activities)

Along with the activities they conducted is the Alternative Learning System (ALS) coordinated with the Department of Education that started in the year 2017.

Aside from fostering the importance of education, the institution profoundly propagates faith within its residents.

Merlina A. Metante, Executive Director of CCOSCC said that they want the young offenders who are the loss and less children of the society to live life like the Holy Child Señor Santo Niño.

“Sama ni Señor Santo Niño ania siya karon aron sa pakig-ambit sa blessings ug grasya.” Merlina Metante said.

(Like Señor Santo Niño, He is here to share the blessings and graces.)

In welcoming the image of the Santo Niño, CCOSCC rolls out the red carpet for the image of the Holy Child through celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

Rev. Fr. Raul Cabugao, OSA expresses his sentiments about the genuine and full transformation of the young offenders inside the institution.

“Siyempre nalipay ko, ganahan ko mobalik dinhi kay ang mga bata makita gyud nimo nga sincere sila. Nalipay ko sa pagbalik nako dinhi kay nagkagamay sila meaning nagbag-o na gyud sila.”

(Of course, I am happy and I love to go back here because the children as you can see, they are sincere. I am happy as I return here because they are getting lesser, meaning they have changed.)

The institution also said that these young offenders must be respected and not be exposed on different mistreatments.

Young offenders may be in bars and been stigmatized by the society but with the help of CCOSCC their mistakes are slowly corrected and its manifested by the previous residents. It is by exercising one’s faith to Señor Santo Niño that leads the young offenders go back to the life of righteousness. /Analyn Conocono, USJ-R Communication Intern


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