Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. . . . I was in prison and you came to visit me.” [Mt 25:34, 36b]
The ministry to the incarcerated is challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. The incarcerated are in a liminal situation. Forced out of their ordinary lives and into a different, often very difficult world, they are forced to redefine themselves. This redefinition often brings an openness to reconsider their relationship with God and the Church. Often it is a “Kairos” moment, a moment of opportunity for a change of heart, a conversion of soul.
Unfortunately, this moment of opportunity can pass all too easily and all too quickly. It can pass without ever having the opportunity for the Sacraments and without ever seeing anyone who represents the Church. The person, then, can be left with a harder heart and less openness to the work of the Spirit.
To go against this, we are working on increasing the number of volunteers who go into places of incarceration. We want to help them Unleash the Gospel in the Jails and Prisons. They need, we need, the help and support of priests. The Eucharist, Reconciliation, and The Anointing of the Sick are essential elements to the change of heart and the conversion of soul among the incarcerated for which we pray.
I know that we are all very busy. I would be grateful for however often you can come in: weekly, monthly, or quarterly. The gift of the Sacraments that you can bring allows the heart of Christ to touch the heart of the incarcerated.
Brother priests, please take some time and consider being part of this ministry. If you are interested in this work or have some questions about it, please feel free to contact me:
Fr. Matthew Palkowski, AOD Coordinator of Ministry to the Incarcerated, at 313-237-5877 or Deacon Fred Billotto, Associate Director of Evangelical Charity, at 734-716-6603