The Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (www.catholicprisonministries.org) serves as the hub network, a resource, and an advocate for ministries and chaplains who need on-going support to do their ministry. As Catholic, there is also a need to be advocating legislatively, both locally and nationally, for the needs of those in prison, out of prison, doing prison ministry, and the detained.
Each third Thursday of the month CPMC and the NACC (National Association of Catholic Chaplains) will be hosting town halls for those doing re-entry ministry. The town halls are structured to share practices and resources on important topics for the unique needs for citizens released from incarceration/detention.
2021 CPMC – Webinar Series (Register on CPMC website for ZOOM login and time)
February 10th – Trauma Informed Care
Ragan Schriver (University of Tennessee)
Those affected by incarceration/detention are often living with past and present trauma. How can we accompany our brothers and sisters on their journey toward healing? Fr. Ragan Shriver, PsyD, LAPSW will share best practices when ministering to this vulnerable population.
March 10th – Finding God Within
Ray Leonardini (Prison Contemplative Fellowship)
April 14th – Jail & Prison Ministry
Dale Recinella and Fr. Rich Deshaeis, SJ
May 12th – Women & Re-Entry
Maureen O’Connell, OP (Angela House)
June 9th – Nuances of Juvenile Ministry
Joe Cotton (Archdiocese of Seattle)
Catholic Prison Ministry Coalition
The place to go for Catholic ministry serving people affected by incarceration.
Catholic Mobilizing Network (www.catholicsmobilizing.org) is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the death penalty, transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative. This year as we observe Lent, we are invited to enter into a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that lead us more deeply into the following of Christ.
CMN is offering a weekly series on restorative justice that will lead you to a deeper appreciation of what it means to follow Christ when you are hurting or when you have been hurt, when you need healing and when you are looking for new ways to restore relationships that are damaged.
The weekly series will follow the book Harm, Healing and Human Dignity (A Catholic Encounter with Restorative Justice by Caitlin Morneau) but is not required reading. Each week of Lent the weekly module will be available on the CMN website and include other web-based resources and reference material, all rich in wisdom.
The five weekly Lenten modules address the following Restorative Justice themes:
When We Think About Justice
When We Experience Harm
When We Cause Harm
When WE Consider Communities, Systems, and Structures
When We Become Agents of Restoration
In preparation for the Lenten Series a “Reflection on Restorative Justice and the Good Samaritan” by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego is available on the CMN site. Bishop McElroy offered these words about the Parable of the Good Samaritan:
“I propose to you today that these same characters of Jesus’ parable, passer-by, robber, victim and good Samaritan also reflect the power and the richness of an ethic of Restorative Justice …. This means entering into the woundedness of both the victim by the side of the road and the humanity of the robber. It is far more expansive and demanding a notion of justice than procedural justice can ever hope to be.”
The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC)(www.nacc.org) with the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (CPMC)(www.catholicprisonministries.org/) has developed a national, integrated, and Catholic approach to identifying, preparing, and supporting men and women who can offer pastoral care ministry in the many settings it is needed.
Partners in Pastoral Care – Prison Ministry Training
Continuing the Healing Ministry of Jesus in the name of the Church.
Pathways of Formation bring together the four pillars of holistic formation that includes human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual formation for pastoral care ministers. These formation pathways for growth cover Foundational, Intensive and Leadership.
Foundational – Total Hours (30 Hours)
Understands the basics of pastoral are ministry, especially empathetic listening, pastoral care presence, how to assess the diversity of the setting.
Intensive – Total Hours (between 60-75 Hours)
Understands more deeply the meaning of the healing ministry and its practices in the Catholic Church, and understands those being serviced. Acquires special knowledge and skills for the area of ministry (options for home care, senior care, prison ministry, health care setting)
Leadership – Total Hours (between 100-120 Hours)
Leads others in service as well as provides services. Serves as a faith companion, a group leader or a coordinator of services. Identifies specific spiritual care / sacramental needs.
The Foundational program includes prison ministry and tailored to two pathways.
Introduction to Catholic Prison Ministries: An introduction to prison ministry with an emphasis on the unique theological, psychosocial, and ministerial needs of the incarcerated. Learn practical tools needed for successful prison ministry.
Prison Foundational for Catholic Ministry: Catholics who feel called to minister with the incarcerated but have little to no concrete experience providing pastoral care within the justice system.
Partners in Pastoral Care provides pathways to service in Pastoral Care Ministry. While many Catholic dioceses / organizations have initiated formation / training programs in pastoral care, there has not been a nationally consistent set of standards / competencies, nor approaches for training to ensure that the highest quality of pastoral care is being provided. The current Partners in Pastoral Care include a pathway for training clergy and lay volunteers to serve in various areas of prison ministry, home care, senior care and health care settings.)
More information is available by contacting Lou Slapshak (Associate Coordinator of Prison Ministry) for the Diocese of Belleville, IL (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jail & Prison Ministry 101 covers six training and formation videos recorded during a pre-conference workshop at the 2019 National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) National Conference – “Partners in Pastoral Care: Continuing the Healing Ministry of Jesus in the Name of the Church” held in Mundelein, IL from May 31 to June 3.
These six video recordings cover fundamental topics and issues pertinent to persons involved in Catholic jail and prison ministry. By sharing their ministerial experience and rich theological understanding of mission discipleship, presenters Fr. George Williams, S.J., and Fr. Dustin Feddon communicate valuable teachings on how Catholic chaplains and volunteers an bring the love and light of Christ into correctional facilities.
Fr. George is Catholic Chaplain at San Quentin State Prison in California, holds a PhD in Criminology from Northeastern University, and is a visiting professor at the University of San Francisco. Fr. Dustin is an experienced jail and prison chaplain, serves as an administrator for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes, and is the Executive Director of Joseph House in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
The Jail & Prison Ministry 101 video are as follows:
This is the story of Chris Hoke who co-founded Underground Ministries in 2017 with a former gang member / prisoner who became a close friend and teacher. It started when someone told Chris that in Washington State there is roughly the same number of churches as there are prisoners. It had him thinking: What if every church wrote to, adopted, and received just one prisoner? We would empty the prison system, and every church would change.
We called the movement: One Parish, One Prisoner
One Parish, One Prisoner is a re-entry model that matches parishes with an incarcerated person for their mutual transformation and resurrection. Two-way trust is build via letter writing and prison visits. And when the time comes, this person will release to a waiting embrace of an entire parish community who already knows then and can assist with the many obstacles to re-entry.
Underground Ministries currently has fifteen One Parish, One Prisoner churches including Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopalian and evangelical that are organized and trained across NW Washington State. They are all paired with one man or woman in a WA prison, building mutual relationships of trust and growth by exchanging letters, making prison visits, and building a local release plan together.
America leads the world in incarcerating its own people. Almost two and a half million human beings are locked away in mass social tombs, an overstuffed underground beneath our society. The Lazarus story is the story of the American church in the age of mass incarceration. These incarcerated men and women are not physically dead like Lazarus but they are cut off from loved ones, family and their children. Large geographic distances, dozens of thick walls, and expensive phone calls seal these men and women off from the land of the living. They are effectively dead to society.
Jesus raising Lazarus from the underground can be a blueprint for resurrection and prisoner reentry today. For starters, Jesus knows the name of the dead. He loves Lazarus. He weeps over his friend. That’s what motivates the miracle. This is where writing letters come in – they establish the relational power of knowing each other on both sides of the envelope. We can also participate in reentry resurrection today when we know the name of the incarcerated person and have established a relationship. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead by calling his name in much the same way that the letter relationship has changed the prisoner and the parish support group.
When the inmate gets out of prison he is still underground. They tend to go back to old friends, neighborhoods, addictions, illegal drug dealing, knowing they’ll get caught eventually. This is where the parish needs to help to move the massive stone which is the many societal barriers that we build against prison reentry. This can only be moved by the people of the parish group working together.
There is still another problem since the prisoner is still wrapped in many layers of protective cloth that wraps him up in darkness as a mummy. These wraps are layers of distrust, survival patterns, addictions, defenses that cover deep stories and wounds that have not healed. But Jesus tells the community to “unbind him.” And in gentle relationships, those many layers come off for all of us. Once in relationship, we start to see one another for who we really are. We heal.
One Parish, One Prisoner is the story of a church taking on as mentor one prisoner through building a relationship (raising from the dead) while in prison and then on release working together to move away the stone (caring and assisting for the physical wants and needs) and then removing the burial bandages (dealing with the trauma of daily life, family and community) to become a person with human dignity and a productive member of the community.