The St. Cecilia Prison Ministry was formed in 1997 when the then Pastor Fr. Raymond LaRussa asked parishioner Scott Campbell to help him answer the call to reach out to the imprisoned (Mathew 25:36 “…I was in prison and you came to visit me.”). Scott in turn reached out to others like Tony Stout, who is the current coordinator. 21 years later we are still visiting the Corrections Reception Center (CRC) every Saturday morning. The ministry consists of four primary teams of volunteers with roughly three persons to a team. Each team commits to one Saturday a month. Four times a year there is a fifth Saturday in the month and there is a separate volunteer for that day.
The focus of the ministry is Catechesis, which is basic Catholic teachings/beliefs, and prayer. Many within the prison community have been away from the faith for a while and most are coming to see it as important for the first time. As for the element of “danger” it really doesn’t exist. It’s nothing like what is portrayed in the media. Life at CRC is very orderly and regimented. Most inmates are scared and confused, especially the first timers. The inmates are respectful and appreciative of our time with them. The Saturday morning sessions, which last about an hour, give them something to hold on to in this new world where they have few rights and little to look forward to.
For those interested in joining the Prison Ministry please call Tony Stout at 614-878-0838 (leave a message) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dept. of Corrections has a volunteer application process that requires, among other things, a background check.