I recently started prison ministry through pen pals. Anyone else here have any experience with this or prison ministry?
No. Not writing.
How do you choose who to write to? Are you given a list of persons who would like to have pen pals?
Sounds something positive and valuable to do…
Yes, through another CAF member I and my parish were corresponding with a death row inmate in Alabama. He sent us various works of art he created. I found that after a time he became a bit demanding, although we had good conversations for months. I asked him once what he would say to the youth…his answer was simple: “forget about me. I’m a criminal. I killed that lady, and no one cares, so don’t waste your time trying to figure me out”. His family, children, had never once gone to visit. His brother came once after he was sentenced to tell him they hated him. It was really frustrating and sad. The average length of stay on DR in Alabama is 12 years. It’s been 14 for him now, Every now and then I check the website to see if he’s still living. Sometimes he writes asking for money for his canteen account.
Four years ago. I wrote to a number of prisoners in mainly Texas, but one in Georgia. God Bless the woman who invited me into that network to help. She was doing it all herself. I relinquished this task because I was not writing in the Church. Without obedience, nothing is secure. Be prepared to mail money orders.
This may help or not,and it may well be how where we ministered worked but we had boundaries,and we were to respect them and make ourselves respected too,as for others.
It had to be clear that we were not to be of any liason with the outside and that there were a number of boundaries we had to respect so that our Ministry could continue,. And also that we enjoyed going and our time together, so we would all loose that oppportunity to share about Jesús and our little encounters with each other.
And we meant it. Nobody " resigned’ btw unless by circumstances beyond us.
So,Robert,perhaps making this purpose for writing and being in touch with each other clear,from the start,may be of help.
And if it doesn t work,there are persons who would probably like to respect them and establish that comunicatión that helps both ends.
In any case,I find it very kind of those who have posted sharing that they tried and with the best of intentions. No little relationship and the time spent is discarded,it must serve a purpose in the eyes and heart of our Lord…
And one more thing. Sometines we " invent" ( cannot find another word…)a need the other person doesn t have,out of good will. It is important that it is the person who wishes to receive letters expresses the need. No hurries…