“Just as God never abandons us, so too we must be in covenant with one another. We are all sinners, and our response to sin and failure should not be abandonment and despair, but rather justice, contrition, reparation, and return or reintegration of all into the community.”
Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration:
A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.
A Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States
Issued by USCCB, November 15, 2000.
When, as members of the Order of Malta, we recite the Daily Prayer, we thank the Lord for calling us into loving service to our neighbors, especially the sick and poor and those at the margins of society. One pathway of service to the poor and marginalized is through Prison Ministry.
Prison Ministry is a response to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the call to extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need. It is the call found in Matthew 25, where the teachings of Jesus provide a model that helps guide us in caring for one another. Christ gently reminds us to bring food, drink, and clothing to those in need; care for the sick; welcome the stranger; and visit the imprisoned.
Through Prison Ministry, we engage with those who have fallen away from Christ, to help bring them out of darkness and into the light of God’s love and mercy, to grow in the Spirit, and to journey toward holiness. It is a ministry of listening, of presence, a ministry that brings a brighter sense of hope to those who are struggling to find their way home. Our mission is to serve others, and yet, by showing compassion to those in need of such care, each of us progresses farther along the path toward a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Our work falls into four categories:
As an Individual: If your Area has a Prison Ministry Program, we encourage you to talk to your Area Chair to discover opportunities to participate. Whether you feel the call to be part of the ministry of presence and listening inside the walls, are more comfortable in the Pen Pal Program, or believe you can make a difference in the reentry process, you will find the work rewarding on so many levels. Click here to learn more.
As an Area: Many of our Areas do not yet have Prison Ministry programs. We would be happy to help you set one up. Click here to fill out our contact form and get started. Or click here to check out the Prison Ministry section of the Spirituality in Action Resource Book, where you will find descriptions of other Prison Ministry programs. Any one of the Area Chairs would be delighted to talk to you about the ministry. To find contact information for Area Chairs and Activity Coordinators, please click here to log into the Members Only section of the website.
American Association, U.S.A
1011 First Avenue, Room 1350
New York, NY 10022