I am rather new to the forums, but after searching for an answer to my question and not finding anything definitive, I thought I’d go ahead and ask.
I am a lay Catholic man who is getting ready to start a Jail Ministry at the local jail, and after submitting the application to the jail chaplain (Good News Jail and Prison Ministry - Calvinist I believe) he informed me that there were two slots I could help with, both were “worship” services for the men in the evenings.
It seems that it would be up to me to coordinate the services, and to select what would be done for the allotted time slot. It would be for ALL Christians in the jail section, so not just Catholics.
I have ideas on what I can do, but wanted to make sure I was not breaking any Canon Law or Liturgical norms by participating in these worship services.
What I envision the current format to be is music, bible readings, and prayer. I don’t believe there is any communion, and I don’t believe there is any required prayers that violate Catholic teaching. Probably the Our Father, and prayer intentions.
I will be Catholic when I lead, and my only fear is I believe I am required to speak on the primary Bible Verse at the worship service, and I don’t want to be giving a homily or being confused for a priest or deacon. I know KAIROS and local laymen do similar things, but just because someone does something doesn’t make it right.
My question is, what liturgical norms or Canon law speaks on what I am allowed to, as a lay Catholic, lead as far as a worship service or meeting, and what can i absolutely not do or should avoid (I know I can’t pretend to be a priest or deacon, i mean specifically what prayers to avoid, actions, blessing, etc.).
Also, any good jail ministry resources would be appreciated