March 3, 2017

Task force recommendations aim to improve prison ministry outreach

By John Shaughnessy

As the archdiocese strives to help parishes, groups and individuals make an even deeper commitment to prison ministry, here are the five main recommendations that an archdiocesan task force has offered to achieve that goal:

Foster education

A key component of this recommendation will involve preparing a presentation on ministry in jails and prisons that will be shared with interested parishes and groups.

Extend pastoral care to persons in prisons and jails

The major emphasis here will be on developing ways to recruit, educate and train volunteers to visit people in jails and prisons. Efforts will include developing a training program, putting together e-mail distribution lists for volunteers, and creating a website that provides educational resources, www.archindy.org/prison.

A main contact at the archdiocese is Deacon Michael Braun, director of the Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries. He can be reached by e-mail at mbraun@archindy.org or by phone at 317-236-1531 or 1-800-382-9836, ext. 1531.

Assist people who are re-entering society after being in prison

The focus here is on building relationships that will help people as they return to society. Key elements of this goal include training potential mentors to help people during this transition, and establishing connections with parishes and the St. Vincent de Paul Society to provide material needs to assist people during this time.

Another emphasis involves working with employees and programs that provide support and job opportunities for people who have been in jail or prison.

Engage parishioners in support ministries

The task force encourages deaneries and cohorts of parishes to work together to provide support for inmates, victims of crime and the families of both. Support would include sending cards and letters, becoming prayer partners, donating subscriptions to magazines that offer Scripture reflection, and joining advocacy networks for victim and prisoner rights.

Build for success

Support at the archdiocesan level will be an important part of a deeper commitment to prison ministry. In this regard, the task force has recommended appointing a commission on prison/jail ministry, hiring a coordinator to lead prison/jail ministry in the archdiocese, and organizing an annual event that will focus on education and support for prison/jail ministry. †

 

Related story: Deeper commitment to prison ministry hopes to change lives of all involved

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