General posts about things happening at Dismas Ministry.

Dismas Story

Artwork in image is Jacques Tissot’s (French, 1836-1902) “Pardon of the Good Thief”


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 the good thief.

The story of Dismas has been called a “gospel within a gospel” because it condenses the ministry of Jesus into just a few hours. Dismas the good thief represents the converted rebel in all of us as he changes from reviling to revering Jesus. His example encourages us to abandon our own misery and slavery to sin for the mercy and freedom of Christ, no matter what we have done or failed to do.

Jesus the eternal judge nailed to the cross presides over all of humanity. By his death he sees to it that “…this world’s prince is driven out” (John 12:31). He silences the hellish argument that our sins are unforgivable, that there is no hope, no turning back for the likes of us. The voice of Satan the prosecutor is silenced by the verdict of Jesus as he admits a scoundrel into the kingdom at the very last minute.

The account of Dismas also reminds us of the parable in which the laborer came at the end of the day and still earned the same wage as those who entered the field early in the morning. This story of God’s freedom to act as He wills gives all of us hope.

– Ron Zeilinger, Dismas Ministry Director

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


Bake Sale, Friday, Dec 13th, 2013

Please join us for this special event to support our ministry! Wonderful treats and gifts just in time for the holidays!

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 to the post of Lord Chancellor – the highest position in the government. It was a great honor and Thomas served with fairness and justice. What at first seemed like a dream-come-true turned into a nightmare that cost Thomas his life. Eventually, the king decided to divorce the queen because they had no children. He desperately wanted a son to succeed him as king. When the pope refused to dissolve the marriage, the king declared himself head of the church in England, divorced the queen and took a new wife.

When citizens were asked to make an oath of loyalty to the king as the head of the church, using his knowledge of the law, Thomas claimed the right to remain silent and retired from public life, resigning as Chancellor. Nevertheless, he was summoned to back to court and jailed in the Tower of London, where he remained in solitude for 15 months …

Click here to read the newsletter

Also included in this issue: An Update from Director Ron Zeilinger, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice & Christ’s Body Behind Bars.

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 inmates often write to the Milwaukee, Wis., offices of Dismas Ministry, which provides Bibles and faith study materials, including rosaries and prayer books, in English and Spanish, to inmates across the country.

“For them, in many cases, they don’t have anybody they can reach out to,” said Ron Zeilinger, who is director of Dismas Ministry. “So when they get something like a Bible and prayer book, it’s gold in their hands. It makes quite an impression. On our feedback forms, we get nice responses and spontaneously written letters on things going on in their spiritual lives.

“It’s an honor and a grace to meet them at that level,” said Zeilinger, who also visits prisons to participate in prayer services and restorative justice programs.

“It’s always a touching and profound experience when you meet the men and women, shake their hand, look them in the eye and see their face,” Zeilinger said. “It puts a human face on them. The first impression is that these people are just ordinary people. Maybe they’ve done some stupid or foolish things, but it really is a humbling and human thing to be with them.

“You don’t feel threatened, or ill at ease,” Zeilinger added. “They’re very grateful to have you there. They usually give you a warm reception. They’re grateful that someone would come and spend some time with them.”

Click here to read the full article>

… 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 our donate page or by mailing to:

Dismas Ministry, PO Box 070363,
Milwaukee, WI 53207.