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22

M

arian

H

elper

 • W

inter

2016-17

 

• marian.org

On Sept. 23, 1994, I was taken to prison with a

67-year sentence after three times refusing a “plea deal”

that would have released me after

one

year. It’s a tough

story that has been extensively covered, including a

series in

The Wall Street Journal

.

For the last 23 years, I have lived in a harsh world

of concrete and steel, an asphalt jungle surrounded by

high walls and razor wire. It’s a world where prison

gangs vie for influence, for control of young minds and

the suppression of hope. It was into this world that a

profoundly powerful grace has unfolded. This tough

story is now no longer about justice or injustice alone.

It’s now about Divine Mercy, a term once foreign to this

imprisoned world. It started with a series of what seemed

to be mere “accidents.”

Two lives converge

Refusing to plead guilty came with a price steeper

than just the length of my sentence. For my first seven

years in prison, I was confined with seven other men in

the

doors

that

have

unlocked

A

t the outset of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of

Mercy, Pope Francis decreed that prisoners who pass

through the doors of their cells may receive the indul-

gence usually attached to passing through a designated Holy

Door if they turn their hearts to God’s mercy. With that in

mind, we reached out to Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, an inmate at

New Hampshire State Prison, to share with us his thoughts

on living the faith during this Jubilee Year. Father MacRae

writes for the award-winning blog

TheseStoneWalls.com

at

the behest of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles. Here’s his sur-

prising response: