Cardinal from El Salvador visits inmates at Nassau County Jail

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EAST MEADOW -

Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, of El Salvador, spoke to inmates of the Nassau County Jail Saturday, offering handshakes and hugs to the prisoners. 

It's the cardinal's first visit to the U.S. and he chose Long Island as his top pick. The visit marks the first time a religious leader has ever addressed inmates at the county jail.

"It's a message of hope, that there is hope despite the walls of the jail, and life can be redone," he told the inmates. 

Outside the jail walls, there are concerns about the Salvadoran gang MS-13, who have been accused of rapes and murders across Long Island. The cardinal had a message for the victim's families.

"A word of solidarity, and those who are the victimizers, a call to reflect," he said. 

The cardinal was set to celebrate Mass Saturday night at St. Anne's parish in Brentwood – a community that has seen much of the MS-13 gang violence. 

He will celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Loreto Church in Hempstead on Sunday.
 

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