Order of Malta Bibles and Prayer Books Help Wichita Inmates Walk With God
Often when we think of missionary work, we picture an assignment in distant lands. Brant Baca, Coordinator of the Saint Dismas Ministry to the Incarcerated, which is run out of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, certainly did. “I’ve always felt a calling to be somewhat of a missionary, and I’ve always had that vision of going overseas,” he said. “But I think in today’s modern world, the missionary front is on the margins of our society, serving the homeless, the imprisoned, those who are largely forgotten.”
Along with 60 volunteers, Brant sees to the spiritual needs of inmates in six facilities. That includes providing religious reading materials. “The demand for Bibles and prayer books is huge,” he said. “We’re meeting people at the lowest point in their lives. When you get to that place, you look back and realize you were walking this journey without God, and that it didn’t work out. And so now you think, let’s try something new, and let’s try it with God.”
Brant distributes Order of Malta Bibles and prayer books in English and Spanish. He said the Order of Malta prayer book is the favorite of the prayer books offered to the inmates, which he attributes to its comprehensive content, quality and convenient size. “You can keep it on your person wherever you go and just pull it out and say a quick prayer.” But it is in the combination of Bibles and prayer books where Brant sees the Holy Spirit truly at work. “The inmates can quote Scripture like no other group I’ve ever seen. They have the time to read it. The prayer book is the perfect accompaniment to the Bible, letting the inmates go deeper spiritually.”
As to how the Holy Spirit touches him in this ministry, Brant said, “It’s almost unexplainable. It’s a joy for me to be able to meet these guys’ needs in whatever small capacity I can.”
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 email@example.com.