Order of Malta


“You Can See the Gratitude”: Michigan Inmates Appreciate Order of Malta Bibles and Prayer Books


“You can see the gratitude,” said Deacon Michael Chesley. Deacon Chesley is referring to the reaction he receives when he distributes the Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books to inmates, men and women, in Wayne County Jail, Michigan.

As both Executive Director of the Wayne County Jail Outreach Ministry and Pastoral Delegate for Prison and Jail Ministry for the Archdiocese of Detroit, the deacon is kept busy helping inmates during and after the time they spend incarcerated. The Outreach Ministry, which is a separate, interfaith nonprofit, provides reentry services, such as obtaining IDs, locating job training and finding employment. “It thrills me to see someone we’ve helped get employment still doing well months later,” he said. In his role as Pastoral Delegate for Prison and Jail Ministry for the Archdiocese of Detroit, he oversees the prison outreach teams who go into the prisons and jails located within the Archdiocese.

The Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books are a recent addition to the services the Outreach Ministry provides. Deacon Chesley heard about the availability of the books from Steve Murphy, a United States District Court Judge. “The inmates are so grateful and appreciative of the Bibles and prayer books from the Order of Malta,” Deacon Chesley said. “I always want to give them something that will help them in their prayer life. Many of them don’t know organized prayer, may not have practiced their faith well. So, when you give them a prayer book, it gives them something to express in prayer that they don’t know how to express in their own words.”

As for how Deacon Chesley feels about his part in providing the means for that expression, he said, “I’m glad I’m there to be able to do it for them, to be able to give them a little bit of hope.”

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
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Parish House
14 E 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-1522