Training Resources

How to recruit volunteers for Prison Ministry

It may be challenging to find volunteers interested in prison ministry. Often, when people think of prisons, the feeling is one of fear. In fact, not everyone is called to visit prisoners directly, so you might encourage people to consider alternative ways to volunteer for prison ministry

Where to start…

If you have a prison outreach in place, you may consider one of the following:

  • Provide a presentation about prison ministry at your parish.
  • Contact organizations at your parish and see if you can talk to their group.

(Human Concerns Committee, Parish Council, St. Vincent DePaul Society, Social Ministry, Catholic Charities, Pastoral Concerns Committee, Holy Name Society)

  • Invite someone involved in prison ministry to talk to your group.
  • Use the Dismas Ministry “Where are the Catholics?” DVD to inspire and motivate.(This DVD shows the various ways Catholics are involved in prison ministry. Visit our store to order the DVD and Messengers of Hope” for $15
  • Place an ad in the parish bulletin about the need for prison outreach.
  • Form a support group for victims and their families or the families of prisoners.

If you do NOT have a prison outreach in place, you may consider the following:

  • Contact a local prison volunteer to see what the needs are in your area.
  • Place an ad in the parish bulletin to find out if anyone else in your parish or diocese is interested.
  • Consider forming a support group for victims and their families or the families of inmates

Here are a few QUESTIONS to help you get started:

  1. How do we respond to these questions, as individual Catholics or as members of our local parish and diocese?
  2. Where and when do we see Jesus in prison?
  3. What jails and prisons are in our neighborhood or within the boundaries of our parish and diocese?
  4. Can we identify and list them?
  5. Is anyone going there to visit the imprisoned Catholics and bring them the sacraments?
  6. As a sacramental faith community how does Catholic prison outreach differ from non-Catholic outreach?
  7. How do we go about training for prison outreach? Read Dismas Ministry’s “Messengers of Hope” A Catholic Correctional Ministry Training Resource. To order a copy visit our online store. (Cost is $15 including postage) Also available in Spanish.

Formal Prison Ministry Training

For formal training in Catholic prison ministry please contact these programs:

Lewis University
Dr. Christie Billups
(815) 836-5829

St. Leo University
Dale Recinella
(904) 881-7747)