General posts about things happening at Dismas Ministry.

kitten and mailboxRemember 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 several ways, both through direct and indirect outreach. The service we consistently provide is sending free Catholic scripture and spiritual resources to inmates.

This includes Bibles, prayer books and study courses. You can check them out here>.

Our process of providing this service is special. Inmates learn about us on a word of mouth basis, whether it is from a loved one on the outside who gives them our information or a friend imprisoned with them who is already receiving our materials. The inmates then write us a letter sharing their interest in a specific item or simply learning more about how we can help them.

dismas materials box

Package filled with the materials Dismas Ministry initially sends inmates.

We answer their initial letter with general information about our ministry, including a material brochure listing  all of the items they may request. Thus begins a correspondence back and forth, where we are able to provide the resources inmates need to grow in their faith.

Since inmates actually have to write to us, our materials go to inmates who really want to make an effort to change their lives. We see the effect of our process in the positive responses we receive from the inmates on our feed back cards. Their comments truly touch our hearts. Look for our “Inmate Voices” posts to hear what they say in their own words.

pile of Dismas Ministry mail

One weeks worth of Dismas Ministry requests ready to be sent out!

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 severe lack of Catholic involvement in Prison Ministry.

Many religious organizations provide prison ministry to the incarcerated but, the Catholic community is severely lacking in its ministry to answer the call of the gospel.  One Catholic prison chaplain states, “Non-Catholic volunteers outnumber Catholic volunteers by nearly 40-1.

The Word of God is clear–outreach to the imprisoned is enjoined on all Catholics by the Christ himself who not only gave us his words “You visited me when I was in prison” (Matt. 25:36) Yet the sad truth is that the Catholic community has not always responded to this often neglected work of mercy. Many parish and diocesan websites do not include prison ministry among the list of ministries, and many parishes and dioceses do not have a prison ministry coordinator or prison outreach. We want to recognize and celebrate that there are parishes and dioceses that are already doing a tremendous job of bringing pastoral care to inmates within the boundaries of their parishes, however we are far from meeting the growing need.

Through this National Prison Ministry Awareness project Dismas Ministry is asking all the over 13,000 Catholic Parishes to do the following:

• Give prison ministry a prominent place on your parish website,
• Ensure that someone is appointed as prison outreach coordinator to recruit and train volunteers,
• Visit the inmates within your parish boundaries at regular intervals,
• Include prison inmates and victims as well as their families in the prayers of the faithful.

As part of our effort to raise awareness of the need for a stronger Catholic prison outreach, we invite you to share what you are already doing, or would like to do, to bring pastoral services to inmates. The hope of this Nation Campaign is to encourage a national support network as well as a response that equals or surpasses the efforts of non-Catholic prison volunteers. Contact Dismas Ministry and let us know what you are doing in your parishes! Go to www.dismasministry/ACT to share with us your ministries.