Pope Francis Proclaims an Extraordinary Year of Mercy

Prodigal Son-Tissot

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. He calls us as followers of Jesus to accept this mercy for ourselves, and to share it with our fellow sojourners on earth.

For Dismas Ministry, this is a special challenge to work with even more dedication to fulfill the words of Jesus, “when I was in prison you visited me”. This means providing support to our sisters and brothers in prison. It also is a call to work closely with our fellow Catholics to bring the message of God’s all-embracing mercy to the dark and often hopeless life behind bars.

As a powerful symbol, Pope Francis opens wide the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica: “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love that the Church expresses toward those who convert.”

He asks all of us as members of Christ’s body to

“rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.”

“The call of Jesus pushes each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we are dealing with a person. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity everyone is capable…We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

This Holy Year begins today on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015) and ends November 20, 2016, on the Sunday dedicated to Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. He is the living face of the God’s never ending mercy.

Resource Book: Ministry to the Incarcerated

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 incarcerated, specifically the stressors which are obstacles to a prisoner’s personal and spiritual development. In his analysis he provides both secular and biblical themes that promote penal reform and offender rehabilitation.

Ministry to the Incarcerated also provides instructional outlines for staff and volunteers, as well as Dr. Covert’s experience being the chaplain for Pennsylvania’s first execution in 33 years.

About Henry G. Covert

Dr. Henry G. Covert is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ. After a tour of duty in the military, he worked in law enforcement for twenty years as both a patrol sergeant and county detective. Toward the end of that career he began his studies for the ministry. He has pastored several parishes, worked as a counselor in therapeutic communities, was a state prison chaplain, and acquired adjunct faculty status at the Pennsylvania State University. Reverend Covert was the chaplain for Pennsylvania’s first execution in thirty-three years. He holds several academic degrees in the Scriptures and theology, including a doctorate from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is the author of six books: Ministry to the Incarcerated, Discovering the Parables: An Inspirational Guide for Everyday Life, Spiritual Reflections: A Journey through the Scriptures, Christian Beliefs and Prayers, The Crucifixion of Jesus, and The True Church of Jesus Christ.

This book is for everyone who has an interest in law enforcement, the penal system, and rehabilitation and ministry in the prison system.

Find Ministry to the Incarcerated on Amazon

Prison Design integrating Restorative Justice

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