For Cristiano Vallanzano, Giuseppe Ferlitto and Ciro D’Amora, convicted of several heinous crimes, the prize for repentance involves a distinctive participation in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, making the consecrated elements of the Holy Communion – the Body of Christ; the Bread.
The trio are among the 1,300 inmates at the Opera maximum security prison in Milan, They are participating in the “Meaning of Bread" program, which focuses on fostering process of reconciliation for the prisoners, the Italian television station TG2000 reports.
Cristiano Vallanzano, the youngest of the three, who is serving a 23-year jail sentence said, “Above everything else, I hope to be forgiven by God for what I’ve done."
He related the approach he uses, he says; “In the morning, we say a short prayer, a Hail Mary, an Our Father, we make the dough, have some coffee, smoke a cigarette and begin."
The young man who has high hopes for himself when he leaves the four walls of the prison said; “When I get out of prison I hope to get married, have children, a family."
Giuseppe Ferlitto said it is “a really beautiful thing" to make with his own hands the hosts that he and others receive in Holy Communion.
“When I’m working on making the hosts I always ask Jesus, God, for forgiveness for what I’ve done," he said. He hopes that this work “will give me the possibility to one day personally ask forgiveness of the relatives of the victims."
Ciro D’Amora said it was “very touching" to start their work with a prayer.
“We think about the people who are suffering, those we’ve made suffer and we pray."
With this work, he said, “we’re sending a message to young people not to do what we ourselves have done."
Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori one of the founders of the Milan-based Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti, said the program shows “that the need to be saved by the love of Christ is for everyone." It is “not just for those who are serving a sentence in prison, who are often conscious of the mistakes they made."
The three convicts have said that they would like to personally present the hosts they have made to Pope Francis.A number of the Hosts will be Consecrated on Jan.17 by the president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travelers,Cardinal Antonio Veglio as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In a letter addressed to Pope Francis filled with remorse they said, “we ourselves, with our hands once stained with blood, can place in his blessed hands the hosts we’ve made, on the occasion of the Jubilee (Year of Mercy)." The three concluded the letter by signing with their first names.