Sam Whitehouse helped create the prison ministry program at Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, 15 years ago. The program includes prison visitation, Bible study, the Pen Pal program and the provision of Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books to the inmates from the American Association.
Before COVID, Sam visited the State Correctional Institution of Phoenix in Collegeville four times a week. He got to know the inmates, learning their interests, their needs and how the prison ministry program could be of service to them. Upon release, Sam works with the individuals to develop tools that would help them succeed on the outside. Once a week, he conducted a Bible study, providing the participants with Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books. Like so many others, he is looking forward to getting back to active prison ministry.
For years, Sam would look for different sources for Bibles. Then six or seven years ago, he met a member of the Order of Malta who told him about the Bibles and prayer books. He has been obtaining the books through the American Association ever since. He said his first impression was, “What a wonderful offering from our Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s coming from the Order of Malta.”
Sam said he knows the inmates are appreciative of the Bibles. “I’ve had guys in my sessions that have read the Bible at least five or six times.” One inmate who had received the Bible converted to Catholicism and, after leaving prison, went to college for study religious studies. He recently graduated and wants to teach about the Bible.
Sam said he gets much more back than he is giving to the inmates. “The greatest grace and blessing that I can imagine is the growth in my own personal development by sharing with the marginalized,” he said. “The fact that these guys have made mistakes doesn’t mean that they’re not worthy of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ!”