No. Men and women, clergy and lay people are all welcome to participate in Prison Ministry.
Consider this from “Faith Behind Bars”: Prison apostolate is a vocation, perhaps the most demanding work in the Church. It is a grimy, emotionally gut-wrenching initiative that is difficult both spiritually and physically, and not something to be undertaken lightly. … Advice for those who are serious about entering a prison apostolate:
- Start by making a few visits to a local prison with an established Catholic apostolate. Observe all that goes on. Ask questions. Get to know some of the inmates. Otherwise, make no comments.
- After these initial visits, make several visits of another kind: To the tabernacle at your parish. Stay and pray before the presence of Christ for an hour each time. Talk to Him about your interest in ministering to the incarcerated.
- If you still have an interest, sit down and talk with the director of the Catholic prison apostolate. Ask questions and get feedback – the more information, the better. This is a discernment process.
- Visit Jesus in the reserved Eucharist once again. Ask Him to reveal to you whether you are called to this apostolate.
- If you still feel called, find a good priest who can direct you through the “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.” Have him hear your general confession and ask him to teach you about holy detachment and how to practice it.
- With this preparation, you are ready to begin.
No. While our volunteers are Catholic, we respect and minister to people of any or no faith.
Due to the different types of ministries we undertake in the various prisons and jails, there is no one specific method of training new volunteers. However, each prison, jail or detention center provides extensive training that includes extensive information about safety requirements and procedures. Additionally, an experienced volunteer then accompanies new volunteers in that facility until both the new and the experienced volunteers are confident of their ability to minister effectively there.
Each prison, jail or detention center provides extensive training that includes extensive information about safety requirements and procedures. Additionally, an experienced volunteer accompanies new volunteers in that facility until both the new and the experienced volunteers are confident of their ability to minister effectively there.
Some volunteers are understandably nervous at first about entering a detention facility, but they soon find that the reward is great as they respond in this work of mercy – serving those who are in great need to hear the Good News and teach hope!