Dismas Ministry Blog

Welcome to the Dismas Ministry blog.  Here you will find some wonderful news, stories and updates from our ministry.

This Lent, we are going to share with you excerpts from Keeping Hope: A Resource for Families and Friends of the Incarcerated Written by Karen Henning Heuberger and Ron Zeilinger “Visiting Your Loved One” You may be able to visit your loved one each week, or at least 2-3 times a month. Or you may […]

This Lent, we are going to share with you excerpts from Keeping Hope: A Resource for Families and Friends of the Incarcerated Written by Karen Henning Heuberger and Ron Zeilinger   “Making Contact: The Hardest Part is Leaving” Our first visit to the county jail was not great. I felt like we were treated just […]

This Lent, we are going to share with you excerpts from Keeping Hope: A Resource for Families and Friends of the Incarcerated. Written by Karen Henning Heuberger and Ron Zeilinger “Breaking the Silence: Telling Others?” Other people’s reactions may be difficult to deal with because of the stigma that often goes with having a loved […]

This Lent, we are going to share with you excerpts from Keeping Hope: A Resource for Families and Friends of the Incarcerated. Written by Karen Henning Heuberger and Ron Zeilinger “Facing Your Own Sentence: Where do you begin?” I felt shock and disbelief. Then confusion, then fury, then sadness. When you first found out that […]

This is the first blog in our 2024 Lenten Blog Series. This Lent, we are going to share with you excerpts from Keeping Hope: A Resource for Families and Friends of the Incarcerated. Written by Karen Henning Heuberger and Ron Zeilinger “Outmates” Your loved one may have gone to trial, or may have taken a […]

Today, Pope Francis traveled to a prison near Rome to wash the feet of a dozen inmates, a Holy Thursday ritual that symbolizes humility and highlights his papacy’s attention to those on society’s margins. Pope Francis has made it a tradition since the beginning of his papacy to celebrate the Mass and foot-washing ritual on Holy […]

For this blog post we would like to introduce you to our Mission Coordinator and the newest member of the Dismas Ministry team, Delisa Person. She started working with Dismas Ministry as our Student Ambassador in June of 2022. Once she graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in December, she agreed to join our team – […]

  “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” ~St. Francis of Assisi   Francis of Assisi was a self-proclaimed “wild child.” So is Anthony, a prisoner in Indiana. Unlike Francis of Assisi, from his earliest memories, Anthony was not well cared for or loved properly by […]

Did You Know The Importance That “Prison” Plays In The Bible? Did you know that “prison” and the “idea of prison” plays a significant role in the Bible? In both the Old Testament to the New Testament. In the Old Testament, imprisonment is mentioned often as a common form of punishment for various crimes. In […]

Written by Kate Nava, Vice President, Dismas Ministry Board of Directors  I’m Mary Kate Nava, Dismas Board Member. I’m recently connected with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laredo, Texas, where Bishop James A. Tamayo’s team directed our collaboration with Deacon and Prison Minister Enrique Peñuñuri. I accompanied Deacon Enrique who routinely delivers God’s Word in […]

Did you know that numerous Catholic Saints were imprisoned at some point in their lives? Many were imprisoned for their faith and endured persecution, suffering, and death for their beliefs. During their imprisonment, they remained steadfast in their faith and love for God. In this blog post, we will look at some of the Catholic […]

Our team consists of a variety of people who share their gifts and talents with Dismas Ministry. Key staff members, interns, and volunteers comprise our “mission family” at our operations located on the campus of Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We are pleased to introduce the Stritch students, and members our team, to you. […]

On Friday, April 29, 2022, at the 17th Annual Celebrate Internships Employer Appreciation Event, the Milwaukee Area College Internship Consortium (MACIC)* recognized Dismas Ministry as an Outstanding Small Employer Internship Program. Dismas Ministry was nominated for this award by Tom Kipp, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Education at Cardinal Stritch University. Each year, MACIC […]

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with many people across generations who want to serve the poor and marginalized in our society. As a small nonprofit, Dismas Ministry continues to build relationships with individuals and groups who align with our mission. And, we are blessed to work with students, staff and faculty on the campus […]

By Tyler Curtis Every month, Dismas Ministry Board Member Dan McCarthy coordinates a special group of volunteers who visit our operations located at Cardinal Stritch University. This crew on campus is comprised of members of the Milwaukee chapter of the Order of Malta. Dan serves in the role of Hospitaller with the Federal Association of […]

By Tyler Curtis Fr. Rich Deshaies is a Catholic chaplain to the imprisoned in the greater Boston area. While he is engaged in other important ministries of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, of which he is a member, he is a strong advocate for the spiritual needs of men and women […]

The Board of Directors of Dismas Ministry, Inc. is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2022 St. Dismas Award. Paul Caruso will be presented with the award in spring 2022 at a special event in suburban Atlanta, GA. Caruso has served the incarcerated and indigent for over 32 years, and currently is the leader […]

This summer, we enjoyed working with Communications Intern Yolotzin (Yolo) Mendez Benitez, a student at Cardinal Stritch University. Yolo recently completed a six-week internship with Dismas Ministry and was a tremendous asset to our team. This is just one example of our collaborative relationship with students, staff and faculty of the University as we continue […]

By Tyler Curtis It was September 13, 2015. For most people, it might have been an ordinary Sunday in late summer. But, for Curtis Gibson, it was the beginning of his next chapter. It was the day he walked out of a minimum security prison in Oregon. “I had a rough experience,” said Curt. During […]

Dismas Ministry Board President Sr. Patricia Weidman, CSA shares a reflection on her chaplaincy experience in an article featured by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. By Sr. Patricia Weidman, CSA, BCC My twenty years with the Federal Bureau of Prisons began with the supervisory chaplain telling me that inmates are people, too. They are […]

As a former college basketball coach, Bill Gaertner had seen his share of contests won and lost on the court. More importantly, he helped young adults strive to reach their full potential as student athletes. Over a career that spanned 15 years, Bill made an impact on the lives of others. Today, he continues to […]

If you had a loved one incarcerated during the holidays, how would you “keep hope?” Keeping Hope is a resource developed by Dismas Ministry.  Ii includes stories of families who have experienced incarceration. They share their wisdom, their struggles, and even their joys. The book contains recommended resources and ideas for dealing with incarceration and […]

A seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Paul has been a Dismas Ministry volunteer since August of 2018.  He comes in weekly to package bibles, prayer books, and other materials for chaplains and prisoners.  Previously, Paul had been working at another non profit organization.  Then he met Dismas Ministry founder Ron Zeilinger, […]

The St. Dismas Award is given annually, by Dismas Ministry, to persons in recognition of their outstanding service to the incarcerated. The very first award was presented posthumously in honor of Rev. Christian Reuter, OFM. Although in a hospital bed, Fr. Chris was doing what he did for many years – ministering to the incarcerated […]

Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16-14) Love your neighbor. It’s what Jesus calls us to do. Just as we are part of one Church family, we are part of one human family. Each time we pray for another person, each time we offer food or clothing to someone in […]

I Am BeautifulLet us broadcast words of healing…Let us take a handful of words and scatter them…as seed;Some of these words will fall on the pathas we journey through this lifeSome of these words will fall in the rocky placeswhen we are going through hardshipsSome of these words will help us overcome the prickly thornsthat […]

On this Thanksgiving day we share notes of gratitude from those we serve!   At Dismas Ministry we are grateful for your generosity, and the impact of your giving – to help others find a path to God. In 2018, Dismas Ministry will send more than 31,000 Catholic bibles (in both English and Spanish) to […]

Rachel’s Story

While Dismas Ministry provides over 37,000 Catholic bibles to inmates each year, we do, on occasion, receive requests for the Life Recovery Bible. This year we have received requests for approximately 300 Life Recovery Bibles. The cost for these bibles is considerably more expensive than the Catholic bibles we provide. For that reason, we are […]

“From the very first day, I was surprised how much God is in prison.” Curtis was living his life like many ordinary men. He worked a white collar job. He had a wife and kids. His family members were always Catholic, and he had become Catholic a few years earlier. But, because he had become […]

Please join us in welcoming Tyler Curtis as Dismas Ministry’s new Executive Director! The Board of Directors of Dismas Ministry is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Tyler Curtis as its new Executive Director. She succeeds Founder and previous Executive Director Mr. Ron Zeilinger. Ms. Curtis brings to the position years of experience in […]

In this #YearofMercy, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is one of the cohosts for the first National Catholic Prison Ministry Conference, Nov. 10-11, 2016. Archbishop Listecki and co-host Fr. Paul Hartmann spoke with our Dismas Ministry director, Ron Zeilinger on Living Our Faith Radio Show about the upcoming conference. Living Our Faith airs in the Milwaukee […]

Dismas Ministry Year of Mercy

Today, on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, which is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opens the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. In proclaiming this special year long focus on the gospel theme of mercy, he is calling the Catholic community, and the global community, to reflect on the reality of God’s mercy. […]

Pope Bolivia Prison Visit

Here are our favorite quotes from Pope Francis’ visit to the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary on Saturday, July 11th: The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. We can lose this dignity in so many ways. But Jesus is stubborn: he gave his very life to restore the identity we had lost. This […]

We came across this beautiful Animé version of Jesus’ death and resurrection seen through the eyes of Dismas and want to share it with you. This story unfolds through the eyes of a criminal who receives the same brutal crucifixion sentence as Christ. “My Last Day” is a short film of regret, repentance and redemption. Animé […]

I was struck by the description of the angel who rolled the stone back from the entrance to Christ’s tomb and then sat on it, announcing the resurrection: “He is not here.” I confess, I don’t usually think of angels a lot, not since I was a youngster in Catholic grade school when Sister told […]

Dismas Story

  A Gospel Within a Gospel On this St. Dismas Day – March 25 – special blessings to all inmates, families, staff, volunteers, our board members, donors and prayer union – everyone involved in prison life and ministry one way or the other. Read & reflect on Luke 23: 39-43, the story of our patron […]

We received a letter from Henry G. Covert introducing his book, “Ministry to the Incarcerated,” as a guide to understanding the prison environment and ministry to inmates. About the Book In Ministry to the Incarcerated, Dr. Covert uses his experiences as both police officer and retired state prison chaplain to examine the problems of the […]

We found this concept for prison design very innovative and interesting. Let us know your thoughts! Post by Dismas Ministry.

Bake Sale, Friday, Dec 13th, 2013

DELICIOUS HOME-BAKED GOODS & BEAUTIFUL HAND-MADE ITEMS by the Sisters of St Francis of Assisi! Friday, December 13 from 9am-3pm at the Marian Center for Nonprofits Room 102 (Ground Level-Rear Entry) right across from the Dismas Ministry Office! 3195 S. Superior (Lake Drive) • Milwaukee 53207 FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 486-2383 SALES BENEFIT DISMAS MINISTRY PRISON OUTREACH Please […]

This Day Newsletter - St. Thomas

Feature article: Saints Who Were in Prison Thomas More (1478-1535) was a good husband and father, had a sense of humor, and a pleasant personality. He also was a successful lawyer, scholar and writer, and his talent won both the friendship and recognition of King Henry the Eighth of England. Eventually, the king appointed him […]

Can you find God behind bars? Today 93,395 people are in prison in the UK. With time to reflect on their actions, many of them turn to religion for guidance and solace. But what does faith do for those inmates? This week 4thought.tv visits Barlinnie Prison, Scotland’s largest jail to ask, ‘Can you find God […]

Director Ron Zeilinger was interviewed for the article: Freedom behind bars, Inmates can grow spiritually even while in jail, thanks to dedicated prison ministry volunteers. – By Brian Fraga – OSV Newsweekly, 11/3/2013. Here is the excerpt of Ron’s part in the article: Still, even if quietly, thousands of Catholic inmates hunger for spiritual nourishment. Many […]

… But our ministry car was totaled in an unfortunate accident over the weekend due to wet roads. We urgently need a replacement car so we can continue our daily errands and road trips. We are 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and any donation you make is tax deductible. You can help by making a donation through […]

The National Council of SVdP is now in the process of looking for the National Program Coordinator for the National Ex-Offender Re-Entry Program funded by the CCHD grant. We would like your help in this hiring process. You can assist in this effort in two ways: 1. You can help look for candidates for the […]

Dismas Ministry Board Meeting

We told the stories of some of our new Dismas Ministry board members in our Summer 2013 Newsletter, but get to know two of them better in this video interview.  

Hearts United - Men of Christ Event Logo

Because of Pope Francis’ call, we’d like to share a special event with you: Attend the Hearts United 2013 Eucharistic Rosary Rally For Peace and the Family In Milwaukee on September 7 at 12:30 pm For advance tickets click here // tickets also available at the door Urgent Worldwide Gatherings for Peace! September 7, 2013 May we all […]

Families of the Incarcerated Gathering October 26th

A special gathering on Saturday, October 26, 2013 Time: 8 A.M. to Noon Location: Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin A Gathering to Learn, Support and Share Resources for the loved ones of the incarcerated, and those who serve them in churches, organizations, professional agencies and communities. Keynote Speaker Amalia Molina Attendees will hear her story […]

Dismas Ministry Board Meeting

July 18, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI – National Catholic Prison Ministry Meeting – Board members from around the country met Thursday, July 18, in Milwaukee for the annual meeting of Dismas Ministry, a national Catholic prison ministry based in Wisconsin but serving Catholic inmates in the nation’s county, state and federal prisons. The board members […]

This truck unloaded two pallet, 10,000 bibles total, at the Dismas Ministry office today.  Dismas Ministry Director, Ron and Assistant Director, Ally unloaded them from the pallets outside to the storage unit inside. Now they are ready to be sent to inmates who request our materials!

Dismas Ministry New Board Members

Check out the newest issue of our newsletter, This Day – Summer 2013. Feature Article: We are happy to share that Dismas Ministry’s board of directors added three new members as of January 9, 2013. Sister Ruth Poochigian, OP, is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. She holds an M.A in Systematic […]

Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes” to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human […]

An Exhibit of Artwork by the Incarcerated Works of art done by men, women and youth incarcerated in detention centers, county jails and prisons throughout the United States. These pieces depict the humor, love, hurt and healing that have transpired in their lives. This is a joint exhibit between The Cathedral of St. John, Dismas […]

HOLY WEEK As we begin Holy Week it is a happy coincidence (or no coincidence?) that Monday March 25 is the annual feast of Saint Dismas, the patron of our national Catholic prison ministry. The things that unfolded on the cross between this “good thief” as he has been called traditionally and Jesus is truly […]

More inspiring testimonials from inmates on their spiritual journey. 

This past Saturday, Dismas Ministry enjoyed having a table at the 2013 Men of Christ Conference in Milwaukee. “Men of Christ is a group of Catholic lay men, from all walks of life, that have come together to make a difference in this world… and that difference, we believe, begins with faith filled men. Our […]

On December 1st, Dismas Ministry launched our National Prison Ministry Awareness Campaign, “Where are the Catholics?” It has been 94 days and we’ve been steadily working, connecting with those who have sent in the response postcard or filled out our “Share” Form on our website. Here is a summary of the campaign’s impact so far.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. Our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this […]

Dismas Ministry recently launched a new inmate correspondence course called Pray Always-A Catholic Prayer Study for Inmates. Like the ministry’s two other courses, this unique course is designed especially for Catholic inmates who want to learn more about their own faith tradition and be able to defend it against challenges from prison volunteers, staff and fellow inmates. The course includes a series of […]

Become all you were created to be! – A reflection by Rob Kerby, Senior Editor of www.beliefnet.com Secret 1. You can do anything! And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith … even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.” […]

where are the catholics video screen cap

We’ve created a series of videos of an honest sharing of Prison Ministry volunteers to help you discern if prison ministry is the  right path for you. We hoped you are touched an inspired to act by listening to their stories. For more ways to get involved click here> 

c4 video screen cap

“C4: Ignite Your Catholic Faith” is a series of videos created by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Celebrating the year of Faith, these videos are meant to answer questions about our faith and how we live it, as well as fuel a passion with in us to take action as Catholics. As Dismas Ministry continues our […]

Here is a collection of thankful from responses from inmates who have received our materials.

Remember the feeling of excitement that you used to get as a child when you received a letter in the mail? At Dismas Ministry, we get that feeling everyday when we read the letters from inmates who are requesting or who have received our materials. We work to serve  a variety of inmates’ needs in […]

A National Catholic Prison Ministry in the works.  Dismas Ministry launches a National Campaign striving to bring awareness to the over 300 Catholic dioceses in the United States that are in desperate need of Prison Ministry Volunteers. This National Prison Ministry Awareness project titled, “Where are the Catholics?” strives to shed the light on the […]

  The gratitude expressed by inmates on our feedback card never ceases to impress us. Truly these are children of God yearning to strengthen their faith and we hope their words touch your heart. “… I got your address from another inmate. I myself have been baptized in the Catholic Church but I have not ever attended […]

We believe there is something really special about being able to fill the requests made by inmates. Because they are asking for the Bibles, Prayer books and Study Course themselves, we know each item is truly a gift to them. Here are some requests that inmates write to us, and it is a blessing fill […]

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