Ministry to the Incarcerated Seeks to Serve Inmates and their Families
I was in prison and you visited me.
Parishes throughout the Diocese of Orlando are bringing the Catholic faith alive to those who are incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout Central Florida as well as supporting families and assisting with re-entry programs.
Deacon David Gray, Secretary for Leadership and Parish Life in the Diocese of Orlando oversees the Ministry to the Incarcerated comprised of nearly 200 volunteers who serve in more than 35 prisons and jails around the diocese.
“We’re bringing the Catholic presence, not because they’re Catholic but because we’re Catholic,” Deacon David said. “We want to share the Christian faith from a Catholic perspective. It’s a challenging ministry, but it’s also a very rewarding ministry.”
This ministry operates through parish teams who support the needs of the inmates at individual institutions to conduct Communion/Prayer services, Bible studies, RCIA instruction and deliver Bibles, rosaries and prayer cards to foster individual study. These parish teams are vital because the ministry and programs at each institution are dependent on the relationship between the ministry team and the warden/chaplain at the institution.
Not all of the ministering is done inside the jails or prisons. The other ways to become involved are by supporting and comforting the incarcerated person’s families and assisting with re-entry programs, which help former inmates integrate back into society when they are released.