The Office of Prison Ministry provides pastoral care for the incarcerated and their families while seeking to affect changes in public policy regarding incarceration. We employ and encourage education and Christian outreach as we advocate for a continual improvement and reformation in our current criminal justice system in order to up hold the human dignity of all those impacted by incarceration. We strive to replace the retributive model of justice with a restorative one, which seeks to reconcile and restore the person, faith communities, and society at large.
We seek to inform the Parish Communities in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, of the needs of those incarcerated or re-entering society, and how to respond to Jesus’ invitation: “ I was in prison…and you visited me”.
Recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all people, Catholic correctional facility volunteers perceive prison ministry to be our Gospel call to be present and serve those affected by the criminal justice system, whether inmate, their family members, victims, or correctional officers and staff.
The responsibility for ministry to those who are incarcerated comes form Christ’s admonition to each of us,“whatever you do to the least…you’ve done to me” (Matthew 25). We, as a Catholic Faith Community, must respond to God’s call to this social and pastoral ministry by being involved in a meaningful way, by being present to all of the prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities within this diocese.
As Catholic Correctional volunteers, we realize this ministry is to Catholic faith communities and other individuals who are outcasts in society. Volunteers are their voice and make every effort to give voice to the needs of the incarcerated at all levels of Church structure.
Therefore, the Office of Prison Ministry recognizes the need for greater missionary efforts by parish communities. We use various opportunities to address parishes, pastors and diocesan leaders and invite them to come inside and participate with the incarcerated faith community.