Ministry to Family members, especially to children who have a parent incarcerated, is guided and inspired by the USCC pastoral: Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration calling for new efforts in reaching out to the families of the incarcerated.
- We attend to the pastoral needs of family members, when appropriate.
- We make ourselves available to family members who call upon us in our role as Catholic volunteers and reach out to families, acknowledging their pain and offering care and compassion.
- These families should be included in parish activities and intercessory prayers.
The Office of Prison Ministry recognizes the Gospel call to walk with, support and minister to and with victims, and promote the inclusion of victims in parish ministry and activities.
- We recognize the need of challenging parishes to include victims in all aspects of parish life, especially to help awareness and include victims in the prayer life of the community of faith .
- The Office of Prison Ministry educates the Catholic community using the USCC Pastoral: Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration calling for new efforts reaching out to the victims of violence.
- On the journey to healing and reconciliation victims face many difficulties and challenges and we, as Church, are called to bring Christ among those who suffer.
AFTER CARE PROGRAMS
Restoration of individuals to the community, calls for new efforts in reaching out to men and women re-entering society after incarceration. Living facilities and meaningful employment remain difficult for many to obtain. Without housing and employment, or family support, often the individuals fail to successfully transition into society. Faith Communities are challenged to assist those who are without the necessary means.
MINISTRY TO JUVENILES
The Office of Prison Ministry is in direct ministry, education and advocacy on behalf of incarcerated youth and their families. Catholic volunteers who minister to incarcerated youth in State detention centers embraces a holistic approach by integrating Christian ministry, education, social skills, crime prevention and alternatives to incarceration. Guided and inspired by our faith, we oppose policies that treat young offenders as though they are adults in the Justice System.
SACRAMENTAL LIFE AND RELIGIOUS SERVICES
Inmates have the right to attend and participate in sacramental and religious services including the Eucharistic Liturgy, pastoral counseling and faith-sharing groups. Ministers have the right of access to all areas of the facility, which permits them to carry out their ministry with integrity.
- We work toward providing regular Eucharistic liturgies for all inmates in our care. Smaller services are provided in institutions where inmates are restricted from mixing with the general population. In the absence of a priest, designated volunteers provide a communion service.
- Communion is made available to those inmates who are not allowed to attend any group services.
- We initiate and welcome volunteer attendance and participation in Catholic services.
- We initiate, welcome and facilitate requests by inmates for spiritual and pastoral counseling.
- We work with the administration to creatively facilitate religious programming which meets the need for both pastoral services and security.
- We make every effort to facilitate the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis. We invite local parish priests to assist.
- We are sensitive to the multilingual and multicultural experience and expression of the inmates we serve, both those Catholic and non-Catholic.
- We are attentive to the reality that many non-Catholics attend Catholic services. We understand our people are searching for a faith community; many are unchurched and in need of support. We welcome the full participation of any one at services and invite non-Catholics to come forward for a blessing at the reception of Eucharist. We create sacred environment for worship, especially if the room provided by the institution is not a chapel.
- We make every attempt to include inmate participation at Catholic services.
- Special prayer petitions are written appropriate to the prisoner’s experience and needs.
- We prioritize pastoral needs. We ensure that the notification of the death of a prisoner’s loved one is delivered in a timely and pastoral manner. We are sensitive to the pastoral needs of the prisoner at that time. We attend to the grieving process and give priority to visits with the person in the days and weeks immediately following the loss.
- We provide grief counseling. We invite the inmate community to join in prayer and emotional support.
- We are particularly attentive to the signs of mental illness, suicide and stress.
- We support and are a source of encouragement to paroled inmates who contact us.