On Tuesday night, Bishop Robert J. McManus celebrated a Christmas Eve Mass for prisoners at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction.
About 50 men attended the annual service, held for the first time on Tuesday in the newly renovated chapel at the prison. Many of the inmates thanked the bishop for coming; one prisoner approached the bishop like an old friend.
“That’s my man,” the man stated as he handshake with the bishop.
McManus arrives every year for the Christmas Eve service and stated he likes celebrating Mass with the prisoners. He noted the duties could be more colorful than expected services. Guitarist Mark Lorusso, who accompanied the bishop on Tuesday, urged the arriving prisoners to sing, and they contributed.
Deacon Gary Miller celebrated Mass with the bishop. He translated from the Book of Isaiah and read the Gospel According to Luke.
McManus, in his homily, delivered a letter from a bishop out West, who initially passed a hitchhiker on his way home one night. He was nervous and drove on his way. But his conscience ordered him to turn around, and he turned to pick up the hitchhiker. He stated the man questioned him what the “good word” was, and the bishop said to him Jesus was born for his salvation.
‘He sat and remained around 10 minutes and stated thank you,’ the bishop said.
He spoke about how Jesus was born for everyone’s salvation – for the rich and powerful and the weak and helpless. He stated it’s not by misfortune that Jesus has his arms outstretched in the manger and on the cross.
‘This is why we are born, and this is why we die,’ he said.
The Mass closed out with most of the prisoners joining along in ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing,’ and ‘Feliz Navidad.’