Order of Malta

Knights Hospitaller


Inmates Find God Through Long-Distance Bible Study


There are many wonderful Bible studies that bring members of the Order and others into prisons and jails so that they may share the Word of God with inmates. But physically going into the facilities is not the only way to accomplish this goal.

Sr. Elsa Narvaez Rodriguez runs a Bible study for Spanish-speaking inmates. Escuela de Estudios Biblicos Catolicos has worked under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Boston for more than 20 years. It has been so successful, that it is now in the process of becoming a separate nonprofit in order to expand its volunteer base and reach more people.

The program works like a correspondence course, and among the materials provided are the Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books, which are printed in both English and Spanish. “Sadly, there are many jails that don’t have access to Catholic materials, and the Order of Malta Bibles have been very useful for us,” Sr. Elsa said. “We thank the Order for providing them.”

One aspect of the program is centered on the Sunday Readings. Every month, the program’s volunteers send the liturgy readings for each Sunday Mass to the inmates who have signed up for the course. Along with the readings come an explanation of how to find the specific scripture passages within the Bible; a series of questions about the readings for each week; and, for inmates who haven’t already received one, Order of Malta Bibles. The inmates return their answers to the questions, and the volunteers provide heartfelt feedback.

“This ministry has helped us reach people we might not be able to see in person,” Sr. Elsa said. She also said really loves it when she receives a request for someone to participate, particularly when it’s because other inmates have talked about the study. “They’re finding God, and they feel so excited, so good, that they want to share with others!”

If you would like to learn more about the American Association’s Prison Ministry programs, please email Craig Gibson, Chair of the Prison Ministry Committee at cbgibson@comcast.net.

Order of Malta, American Association, U.S.A.

American Association, U.S.A
1011 First Avenue, Room 1350
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-1522