"I was in prison and you visited me." Matthew 25:36
|Evangelization: Share the faith in a way that draws others to become Jesus' disciples and responsible members of his Church.|
|Encouragement: Nurtures or fosters others through presence and words of comfort, encouragement, and counsel.|
|Intercessory Prayer: My prayer for others enables God's love and deliverance to reach them in specific, remarkable ways.|
|Faith: Exceptional trust in the love, power, and provision of God and remarkable freedom to act on this trust.|
|Healing: God uses me to cure illness or restore health where healing is unlikely to happen quickly or at all.|
|Hospitality: Warmly welcoming and caring for those in need of food, shelter, and friendship.|
|Mercy: Practical deeds of compassion that comfort those who suffer and help them experience God's love.|
|Pastoring: Building Christian community by nurturing the relationships and long-term spiritual growth of a group.|
Why Prison Ministry?
In Matthew 25, Jesus, who himself was a prisoner, calls us to visit the imprisoned and to take care of the sick, the homeless, and the hungry. Volunteers in Prison Ministry respond to Jesus' call to action by visiting the imprisoned and providing services to them.
Studies have shown that among the prison population in the United States the rates of substance abuse, illiteracy, and mental illness are high. When men and women are incarcerated they are down to ground zero. Society has turned its back on them. Family and friends frequently desert them.
They have lost their freedom and along with it their self-esteem. At this time they start feeling the need for spirituality, hoping to find someone to give them guidance and support in finding their inner-self again. By responding to this hunger for spirituality, prison ministry volunteers are following in Jesus' footsteps.
Where and how do Diocesan Prison Ministers operate?
They practice their prison ministry at the Dallas County Jail and other correctional facilities. The Dallas County Jail's North Tower, West Tower, and Kays Tower houses approximately 6,000 inmates. The Diocesan Ministers operate in all of these facilities. They celebrate a Communion Service with the inmates on different days of the week. Some of the ministers meet individually with inmates who request a visit of the chaplain.
When do the Prison Ministers conduct Communion Servicea at the Dallas County Jail?
All services for women inmates are conducted on Saturday morning between 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Services for men inmates are on Saturday and Thursday mornings between 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Is there a need for more Prison Ministry volunteers?
At this time the Diocesan Prison Ministry has a team of very dedicated volunteers, but is always looking for more to adequately provide for a large number of weekly services and to respond to requests of inmates for individual visits.
Could I make a difference in joining Prison Ministry?
Yes, you definitely could! Every year a large number of inmates is released back into society. One study shows that of those released, who received the most religious instruction and support while in prison, only one out of five returns to prison. Your efforts do bear fruit in changing lives.
(letter PNCEA Prison Ministries, December 2003)
Contact: Deacon Jose Trevino, Diocesan Prison Ministry Coordinator