SAN ANTONIO -- Joyous melodies carried through the modestly lit halls of a place synonymous with a lack of joy.

And although song flowed freely on a Friday afternoon, the men singing these Christmas carols know little freedom.

It was a special afternoon for 90 minutes at the Bexar County Detention Center, where inmates got the opportunity to attend a Christmas Mass ministered by Archbishop of San Antonio Gustavo Garcia-Siller.

God has given us the ability to share his grace with the world, Garcia-Siller stated during his impassioned homily, which exhorted the 60 inmates in attendance not to give up on God, despite the circumstances of their incarceration.

There he stands, calling to us, Let me see you. Let me hear your voice. God wants to hear us, Garcia-Siller said.

He took on all our limits, all our pain, all our suffering. He took on humanity, so we would never have to be alone again.

The archbishop told the inmates a blessed Christmas is within their reach, even though presents and family are not.

Christmas is not only time spent with loves ones. It s allowing the word of God to take flesh in our lives. Remember, he s in love with you.

Coincidentally, Garcia-Siller turned 56 years old today. After the mass, he sang 'Happy Birthday with the inmates and blew out candles on a cake.

It s a privilege to be here, he stressed.

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