How Pope’s letter healed the wounds of a California teen inmate

How Pope’s letter healed the wounds of a California teen inmate

Pope_Francis_2_at_the_general_audience_in_St_Peters_Square_Dec_16_2015_Credit_Daniel_Ibanez_CNA_12_16_15The juvenile inmate in a California prison wrote to Pope Francis while he was hopeless. He wrote it without expecting a reply. But the Pope surprised him by replying back with a letter. The letter later served as the oil for lightning the teen’s rest of the life.

18 year-old Carlos Adrian Vazquez Jr was imprisoned to 11 years with the charge of manslaughter. He was in prison at the age of 16.

Through the letter, the Holy Father called him to take advantage of the Holy Year of Mercy. In the letter the Pope comforted Vazquez by letting him inform that the Pope is praying for him. “Know that the Holy Father is thinking of you and praying for you. And please remember to pray for me, because I greatly need your prayers,” the Pope wrote in his letter.

The black mark of murder blurred Vazquez’s life at the age of 15. He dropped out of school at 15 and joined a gang. That gang was connected to a gang fight in which someone was killed. He decided to end life and wrote a letter to Pope Francis expressing his grief and hope. That changed everything.

Vazquez wrote to the victim’s family seeking forgiveness. “I ask them to forgive me and told them no words would ever give them back the life I destroyed, but I hope one day they can forgive me for my actions and now I just ask for forgiveness and I want to live the life that my victim didn’t have a chance to live and be good.”

Vazquez viewed the Pope’s letter as “a message from God, that we are all humans.” He told that the Pope “gives us hope that God wants all of us to be equal and we all commit mistakes, and we can get up and continue.”

The teenaged victim now lives with hope that “If society does not forgive me, I know God forgives me for my sins.”