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December 20, 2011

Archbishop Chaput to Make Christmas Prison Visit

On Thursday, December 22nd, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate Mass for the inmates at the House of Correction (HOC) in Northeast Philadelphia. Media are invited to cover the Mass.

Thursday, December 22, 2011
9:00 a.m. Mass
House of Correction (Gymnasium)
8001 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136

The Prison Ministry Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia seeks to carry out the Biblical work of mercy to "visit those in prison." By a constant presence in the correctional facilities located within its boundaries, the Church responds to the pastoral and sacramental needs of prisoners, their families, and victims of crime.

HOC is the oldest operating jail in the Philadelphia Prison Systems. It opened in 1874. Inmates have the option to participate in the Pennypack School House Program. In addition to schooling HOC offers other elective activities such as the OPTION program which is a group therapy program. HOC inmates are offered a chance to participate in the PLATO program which develops reading and math skills but allows the student to work at his own pace. The PLATO program teaches inmates through the use of computers. Religious programs and services are held at HOC; inmates are encouraged to participate in many religious services.

Editor's Note: Reporters seeking to cover the Mass are kindly asked to contact Shawn Hawes (215-685-7888,, Public Information Officer for the Philadelphia Prison System, in advance of Thursday's Mass. All visitors must present a valid state issued driver's license, state issued photo identification or passport.

Visiting reporters are also reminded that House of Correction is a secure facility. The following items are considered contraband and are not allowed inside:

No cigarettes, tobacco products, lighters or matches
No cell phones, pda's, or pagers
No cameras, or digital audio or video recording devices (unless granted permission)
No food or drink (bottled water is available inside the facility)
No drugs or medications
No weapons
No tools
No chewing gum or candy

Dress Code:
Business/Casual is appropriate.
No white T-shirts.
No sleeveless tops.
No hoodies or outerwear.
No hats or caps (religious head covering permitted, please advise)
No bookbags, purses, briefcases

Please also note that faces of inmates should not be on camera, with the exception of those designated by prison officials.

Any questions, clarifications or concerns should be directed to the Philadelphia Prison System's Public Information Office at 215-685-7888 or 215-531-0440.


Kenneth A. Gavin
Associate Director of Communications

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