Each month, more than 125 parishioners from across the diocese journey more than 600 inmates in Maine's correctional facilities. These parishioners are responding to Christ’s call to visit the imprisoned (Matthew 25:36) and are helping them to understand and enjoy more fully the riches of redemption God has intended for us all. This rewarding ministry helps bring Jesus’ embodiment of unconditional love and true forgiveness to those who often find themselves cast aside by society and living a life without much hope.
Ways to join in this important ministry
- Join a parish prison ministry team and meet with inmates for faith sharing opportunities at your county jail or a state prison.
- Write letters to inmates, many of whom receive no mail at all.
- Form or join a prayer group to pray for those who are incarcerated. Pray for their journey towards healing and wholeness, for their communities, and for the victims and others affected by their crimes.
- Advocate by talking/writing to legislators about supporting policies that uplift the dignity of the human person for those who are/were incarcerated. Such policies would address the criminal justice system, and issues such as sentencing and restorative justice.
- Prayerfully gather to support family and friends of those incarcerated or those who have returned to living in our communities.
- Donate religious materials (requirements vary at each facility; please contact Parish Social Ministry for an approved list).
For more information about what is being done in your parish community or what opportunities exist for volunteering, please contact Catholic Charities Parish Social Ministry at [email protected] or 207-523-2772.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I safe in the facilities?
Yes! There are many people in each facility to help keep everyone safe. Onsite guidance and help will be provided by the correctional facility staff to help you..
How can I help if I don’t have any experience or training?
You will be guided in whatever activity you choose to participate. There are written materials available, and many people are ready to help you learn what needs to be done so that you feel comfortable.
Why should I help people who have committed crimes?
As Catholics, we respect the [common] humanity and promote the [inherent] dignity of both victims and offenders. We believe society must protect its citizens from violence and crime, [while holding] accountable those who break the law. These same principles lead us to advocate for rehabilitation and treatment for offenders, [because] like victims, their lives reflect that same [God-given] dignity. Both victims and perpetrators of crime are children of God. — U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.
• Training Guidelines and Resources
• Transitioning to Our Parishes
• What is Prison & Jail Ministry? - Volunteering
• Parish Social Ministry at Catholic Charities - Prison Ministry
• National Catholic Prison Ministry Coalition (CPMC) resources and webinars.