The Forgotten Work of Mercy: Finding Jesus in the Imprisoned

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Visiting the prisoner, one of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy, is an important ministry of the Church. Yet, it remains a quiet endeavor in comparison to feeding the hungry or clothing the naked.

Do you want to learn more about ministering to prisoners?
Have you been called to this special ministry of the Church?

At Dismas Ministry, we receive calls and email messages from people throughout the country who want to get involved with our work. They want to become prison ministers. While we don’t serve prisoners face-to-face, we do mail materials directly to them and provide resources to the chaplains and volunteers who minister to them.

A New Training Resource by Dismas Ministry

The Forgotten Work of Mercy: Finding Jesus in the Imprisoned is a training resource that provides a brief introduction to a much-needed ministry of the Church. It is designed to raise awareness of and inspire interest in prison ministry.

It includes:

  • A PowerPoint presentation that offers a brief overview and insights on the current state of incarceration in the United States, details on how prisoners practice their Catholic faith “inside” and, how people can be of in-person service to them.
  • A workbook / accompanying study guide featuring a four-part lesson plan with interactive components, discussion questions, and practical action steps.

Are you looking for a special project or activity to enrich your Lenten journey?
If so, consider the following:

  • First, use the download link to download the presentation and companion book
  • Then, host a virtual* gathering of family, friends, co-workers or fellow parishioners, and follow along with our materials
  • Or, enjoy an independent learning session

*Since hosting an in-person gathering is not recommended at this time, here are the alternate ways to share this information with others:

  • Zoom meeting: Share the PowerPoint presentation via Zoom and lead participants in discussion and sharing of ideas. The PDF of the other handouts can be sent to them by email in advance of the meeting.
  • Conference call: Share all materials with participants via email, in advance, then schedule a time to review and talk about what you learned together

Walk Alongside

There is a growing need for men and women of the Church to walk alongside prisoners as they begin or renew a life of faith. Along with this program, we also offer two of our training resources, Messengers of Hope and Understanding Trauma (offered in English and Spanish), to anyone interested in a deeper exploration. These publications serve as training resources for those interested in prison ministry. We encourage consideration of this ministry to those who hunger for a relationship with Christ and His Church.

Use the “Contact us” button below to request your complementary copies. (In the message box please indicate you would like to order the complementary copies of Messengers of Hope and Understanding Trauma).

Messengers of Hope

This resource, used by several dioceses for training their volunteers, provides practical information and advice for those who are training others or for those who are on their own but need to prepare themselves for outreach to inmates.  This resource come with a special training DVD.

Understanding Trauma

This resource provides an examination of trauma, with the understanding that many people behind bars were perpetrators of trauma, but victims of trauma as well. As the saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” This publication is not an exhaustive study or explanation of trauma, but serves as a guide to help prison volunteers recognize the signs of trauma during their visits, as well as provides resources that may be helpful to both the prison visitor and the prisoner.

Both Understanding Trauma and Messengers of Hope are available in both English and Spanish!

Thank you for your prayerful consideration and willingness to engage in this special program. We are grateful that The Forgotten Work of Mercy: Finding Jesus in the Imprisoned is made possible through a grant from the ACTA Foundation, Chicago, Illinois.