All ministry press releases regarding updates, events and projects.

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 met with executive director Ron Zeilinger to set the annual budget for the outreach and to approve proposals to advance the ministry’s mission to bring free Catholic scripture, faith and prayer resources to chaplains and inmates.

Attending members included Amalia Molina (Restorative Justice Office-Archdiocese of Los Angeles), Rev. George Williams, SJ (Catholic chaplain at San Quentin State Prison, CA), Schauneille Allen (Director of Outreach Ministries, St. John the Evangelist Cathedral), Mark Henry (cordinator of Jail & Prison Ministry=Diocese of Boise ID), Brian Kennedy, MD (Detention Ministry-Waukesha County), Rev. José Moreno, SJ. (Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Milwaukee, Prison Outreach to Spanish-Speaking-Wisconsin), Deacon Richard Niggemann (Detention Ministry-Waukesha County & Juvenile Detention Ministry-Milwaukee County WI), Sr. Ruth Poochigian, OP (Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa and Catholic Prison Ministry WI), Deacon Al Stockert (Office of Prison Ministry-Diocese of
Biloxi MS). Newly elected members attending for the first time were Schauneille Allen, Sr. Ruth Poochigian, OP, and Rev. George Williams, SJ.

The ministry serves thousands of Catholic inmates annually, providing them with Bibles as well as faith and prayer resources designed specifically for inmates. The ministry was founded in 2000 and is approved by the Catholic Church. Bishop Donald J. Hying serves as the ministry’s ecclesiastical liaison.

Click here to view photos from the meeting on our Facebook page>

More information on this unique Catholic response to this unique work of mercy – visiting the imprisoned – can be found on the ministry’s website:

Inmate Art Show April 19th

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 Ministry and Project Return in participation with the Historic Third Ward Association’s Gallery Night and Day, held Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 2013.

The inmate exhibit will be open Friday, April 19th from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at 802 N. Jackson Street, Milwaukee.

Click here to RSVP to our event on Facebook> 

praying handsDismas 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 three resource books that together provide a comprehensive review of how and why Catholics pray. The first book, Part 1: Prayer in the Old Testament, includes the lives of the great women and men of ancient Israel and examples of how they prayed.This first part presents the background for the next book, Part 2: Prayer in the New Testament. In this part of the course, Jesus, Mary, the disciples and other people of Jesus’ ministry are presented as models of prayer. How the psalms and temple worship influenced Christian prayer are explored. Part 3: Prayer in the Catholic Tradition explores how Catholics have prayed from early to modern times.

Read more about the Prayer Study in our Newsletter>

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.