Several members of our parish visit the inmates of the Fairfax Adult Detention Center located in the city of Fairfax.
Prison Ministry believes:
• every human being is sacred and born with inherent dignity
• God’s grace and mercy are able to transform our sinfulness
Prison Ministry is:
• a ministry of presence, especially to the incarcerated
• pastoral care of the community where we participate in the healing ministry of Christ
• a focus on the offenders, victims, and their families
• assures a Catholic presence in prison and jail facilities located in the Diocese of Arlington
• views crime and punishment in light of the Gospel
• promotes Christian responses to offenders and victims
• cooperates with churches and other agencies and organizations to advocate for just laws, and calls for an end to the cycle of crime.
Volunteers who minister inside jail and prison facilities:
• visit one-on-one with men, women, and youth who are incarcerated
• help organize religious services: Mass, confession, sacramental preparedness
• conduct Bible study, faith sharing, and catechesis
• provide pre-GED tutoring, ESL, and teaching basic computer skills
Volunteering in the prison ministry opens the volunteers to many opportunities of ministering to the inmates. The work that they do includes the following: liturgical presiding, Eucharistic ministry, sacramental preparation, scripture reflection, Bible study, small-group facilitation, one-on-one visitation, mentoring, legislative advocacy, victim support, prayer ministry, and transitional support.
Eventually these incarcerated men and women will come back into our community. It is hoped that when they return to us, they will not go back to their former way of life but that they may know how to live as peaceful and productive members of society again. But to achieve this end, they need to be prepared now and the only way to do this is to meet them while they are still inside through our volunteers.
Who qualifies for prison ministry?
Simple. Anyone can volunteer who sees God in those that he or she encounters; is willing to follow the rules of the prison/jail facilities; is aware of one’s own gifts and limitations; and has an open, non-judgmental attitude and spirituality. Anyone who has these qualities is most welcome to join the ministry.
For information on both the Men’s and Women’s ministry contact Pat Schambach.