Resources to support Prison Ministry have been expanding over the past several years and are available to those participating in the ministry both within and beyond the Order of Malta. In March, the American Association hosted members of the Order and others in a virtual gathering to learn about the mission and outreach activities provided through the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (CPMC).
First, a brief overview on the Coalition (CPMC):
- Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (CPMC). Led by Chief Executive Coordinator Karen Clifton and Executive Coordinator Joe Cotton, CPMC operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. CPMC serves as a hub network, a resource, and an advocate for ministries and chaplains who need support and encouragement for their ministry work to the incarcerated, detained, and those making a return to society.
After an opening prayer and a brief update on overall Prison Ministry activities around the Order of Malta, Karen and Joe provided an overview of CPMC:
- Goal. Provide space for dialogue and collaboration among various Prison Ministry programs as well as opportunities to take joint actions. “We’re trying to provide a collective voice for all of the aspects of prison ministry,” Karen said;
- Online Listing of Prison Ministries. Close-to 80 listings of prison ministries throughout the country, a resource for families of the incarnated as well as potential volunteers. “We’re continually inviting people to post their ministries on the site and to grow that community of people that are involved with us,” Joe said;
- Forums. Monthly town-hall forums for diocesan directors to share practices and protocols as well as monthly forums for those involved in re-entry outreach;
- Professional Development. In collaboration with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, the development of a nationally recognized certification program for jail and prison ministers;
- One Prisoner, One Parish Program. A new re-entry model that matches inmates with parish communities to provide mutually transformative relationships;
- Legislative Reform. Legislative advocacy at both local and national levels.
In the question-and-answer session that followed, participants expressed interest in exploring the listings on the website as well as taking part in the forums.
For more information on the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition, please visit the Coalition website, www.catholicprisonministries.org, and consider attending one of the many upcoming webinars hosted by CPMC!