“Misericordia de Emaús” assumes the mission that many rejects: feed and reintegrate prisoners in Táchira state

The Mercy of Emmaus assumes the mission that many reject: feed and reintegrate those deprived of liberty in Táchira


For 6 years, Freddy García found his mission in life through the path of mercy carried out by the Brotherhood of Emaús and the Order of Mercy, groups of laypeople and priests of the Catholic Church in Táchira, which work focuses on donations and carry out works of human charity to those deprived of liberty (euphemism for imprisoned) in this State.

By Anggy Polanco / La Patilla Correspondent

“The Brotherhood of Emaús” was created in Táchira State in 2012, and over time its members organized themselves into groups to bring food to hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions.

And it is that visiting the prisoners is a true work of mercy, because they are the most rejected by society. However, for this religious group it means giving them an opportunity and doing everything in their power: bringing material and spiritual nourishment, aiding, helping and humanly promoting the prisoners.

“My work is in evangelization from the streets to the church and opening a new path, a hope for inclusion and social reintegration,” as described by Freddy, who coordinates visits to prisoners in various detention centers in the Táchira capital, to later help them find work in different places and thus reintegrate them into society so that they follow the path of good and with a purpose of continuous growth.

Material and Spiritual Nourishment


The Mercy of Emmaus assumes the mission that many reject: feed and reintegrate those deprived of liberty in Táchira


The charitable group led by Freddy has managed to establish alliances with the authorities of the facilities where they keep people imprisoned, as well as with other public entities, with whom they work shoulder to shoulder.

“Currently, the ruling judge collaborates with us in everything that is within her reach, as well as the prosecution, being our internal support the prosecutor Yanina Peñaloza, who is not what normally the people expect of a prosecutor here. She is a spectacular human being that day by day surprises us more with the desire to help the moral and spiritual growth of each one of those deprived of liberty,” describes García.

The material food and spiritual nourishment of the mercy group reaches the prisoners of the detention centers of: The Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Corps (Cicpc Táchira); Politáchira; and the Municipal Police of San Cristóbal. Every time they go to these precincts, they manage to distribute at least 350 rations or lunches.

Different apostolic groups from various parishes attend each visit within the prison compounds to share a moment of personal and spiritual reflection. “We believe in opportunities. We are convinced that the person can change, and that is what we bet on. We are not the one to judge and label. Each person, each inmate, has a life story and it must be respected,” explains the volunteer.

For the Emmaus Mercy group it is not important to know the circumstances or factors for which an inmate fell into prison. On the contrary, they dedicate themselves to accompanying, to being there for a brief moment for them, which is not definitive and does not define them.

Hence, the service is to make visible the possibility of change, but from faith, moved by charity, generosity, taking into account that the inmates of the detention centers are brothers too.

Challenges to the Re-Incorporation of an Inmate

“Heart and charity are needed. Prison systems are flawed and most are punitive. But we must offer an alternative, and this is an opportunity. We all have the right to an opportunity and to change,” considers the Emmaus Mercy coordinator.

He states that raising awareness, educating, training in the sensitivity of change and opportunity in society is essential to reintegrate those deprived of liberty.

“Jesus Christ did it with us, every day is an opportunity for life. The Order of Mercy in its redemptive charism offers that possibility to give back their lives to those who are in danger of losing their faith, and we see it in those deprived of liberty. We believe in reintegration. We have to find ways, help us do it. Let’s do Mercy!” Freddy concluded.