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I was imprisoned and you visited me.” Matthew 25:36

Posted: April 21, 2017

This weekend marked our journey from darkness to light with the celebration of Easter! The long days of Lent are over. For some, the endless days of darkness and despair continue with no end in sight. Blue skies, sunshine and a limitless horizon are a distant memory. Days are marked with grief and loss due to incarceration. Second chances are gone… 

Inmates face cement walls, bars and monotony. Jail means the loss of access to family, friends, work and so many privileges that free people enjoy. How do people hold on to hope in places like this? One way, is through the beautiful work of Prison Ministry. Prison Ministry is a unique calling. It is a willingness to enter into relationship with people who have been incarcerated and to share the, “Good News” with them. It is a reminder that even though they have made serious mistakes that they will serve time for, they are not forsaken by God.

Fr. Paul Jarvis, a priest at St. Bridget’s Church in North Minneapolis has invited us to attend a workshop on May 20, 2017 from 9:00 am-1:00 pm
at the Church of St. Joseph, 13900 Biscayne Avenue West, Rosemount, Minnesota. This workshop will give you an overview of some of the different ways you can become involved in Jesus-encouraged prison ministry: from Prayer Warriors, Bible study facilitators, mentoring, "inside" weekend retreats, transition after release, etc.

St. Patrick’s Social Justice has been a prayer partner for The Catholic Residents Encounter Christ Retreat Team. Over the last couple of years, we have responded to requests to pray for mercy, and the healing work of the Holy Spirit when deacons, priests and volunteers have led retreats at Stillwater prison. Prisoners have been deeply moved that strangers are praying for them.

Prison Ministry does not excuse crimes that have been committed, nor does it change what has happened. It helps people who have been incarcerated feel the love and grace of God. Prison Ministry also helps inmates change their lives. Deacon Bill has served in Prison Ministry. He has graciously offered to answer questions about this ministry. You can reach him at bheiman@stpatrick-edina.org. You are also encouraged to attend the meeting. There is no obligation to join; it’s a way to discern if you are feeling called to this ministry.          

                                                       —Maura Schnorbach