September 9, 2013

During summer vacation season, when there is no congregation of Vatican workers and no homily, Pope Francis continues to celebrate daily Mass in his residence and, since mid-July, has been using hosts made by women incarcerated in an Argentine prison.

The hosts were delivered to the pope July 16 by Bishop Oscar Ojea of San Isidro, who regularly visits the San Martin Penitentiary outside Buenos Aires.

The prisoner in charge of making the hosts, Gabriela Caballero, 38, has served three years of a seven-year sentence.

In an interview with the Argentine news agency NOVA, Caballero said: "I know Bishop Ojea because he often comes to visit us.

When I heard that he was going to visit the pope, I had no doubt it was the time to donate to the pope some of our handmade hosts and photographs of our workshop."

The pope began using the hosts at his morning Mass July 18, and he wrote a personal thank-you letter to Caballero July 19, telling her that celebrating Mass with the hosts was "moving," and also thanking her for her prayers. "I never imagined he would write to me," Caballero told NOVA.