Can a minor serve a prison mass?


Pretty self explanatory. Can a minor under the age of 18 serve a Mass in a prison with a priest?


There is no Church law that say’s he/she can’t, but if the prison will allow them to do so is another question.

Edit: Like the poster mentioned below, some bishops have placed age limits on Prison Ministry.


My guess is it would depend on the rules of the diocese and the jail.

In my diocese, you must be at least 18 to participate in Jail/Prison ministry.

On a personal note, I am not sure if I would want my youngster to serve a Mass in that setting. It is something I would have to give a great deal of thought & prayer to.


I don’t see why not. It would be a great experience for him/her to serve the Sacrament for people who are deprived from it due to their situation. This is the commission by Jesus, “that when I was in prison, you visited me.” What can be greater than bringing Jesus to the prisoners? At an age when one is still very impressible it is great opportunity to be exposed to the reality of prison and to participate in a holy compassionate gesture to those in needs.

However, if there is a local rule promulgated to disallow this, then of course we have to abide by it.


Yup…pretty sure I wouldn’t want my under 18YO’s to experience that…unless I was trying to get a little ‘Scared Straight’ into their life…or I felt they were VERY mature and level headed.


I think that the legal system does not allow minors to serve in jails, it is too much of a liability for the system.


I suppose if it is a juvenile facility, you could get one of the (under 18) inmates to serve. That should be allowed.


It really depends on the facility and who controls it (e.g. State vs. county). The best thing to do is to ask the Diocese, they know all the details.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit