Visiting the sick or imprisoned


Hmmmm… I’ve never done either one (save relatives). I should be though, am I correct? It just seems a little strange to go to a jail and talk to people, but if that’s what Jesus tells us to do, then we must. What exactly do you say to the sick or imprisoned? “What’s up? I don’t know you at all. How long are you in for?”

I’m not trying to make excuses. Just trying to understand. Can someone lend me a little clarity?


of course the first place to start is visiting friends, neighbors or relatives. your parish or diocese probably has a ministry for both visiting the sick and visiting the imprisoned, and can answer those questions for you. They can also help you comply with rules, that in this modern day society, govern such efforts. For instance in most cases you simply won’t be allowed to visit prisoners without some kind of authorization, and if you represent a church, some kind of training. In our area anyone of course can visit friends or relatives in the hospital or nursing home, but there are rules for who is allowed in any facility as an actual chaplain, or to bring communion to the sick

. In the meantime, visit those you know, when you are allowed and simply visit with them as you would in other circumstances. Supporting such ministries in other ways is also part of carrying out these works of mercy. For intance, our school children who would not be allowed in many hospitals or nursing homes, except to see relatives, make gifts for patients and residents, which are carried to them by those who do take communion to the sick.

there are also plenty of people sick in their own homes who could use a visit, someone to shop and run errands for them, someone to care for children of a new mother or someone recovering from surgery, someone to do yard work etc. Also plenty of people who would come to church if they had a ride.


You may find the link below useful. It is about the PA Prison Society, founded in 1787. It is the oldest reform oriented organization of its kind. While being an Official Prison Visitor is unique to PA, you might find some ideas if you thing this is something you want to get involved with. To get involved in prison work really does require some training but it can be very rewarding. I noticed that you are a student. This could be a very interesting term paper or research project.


Hi, God bless your good intentions! :slight_smile: In addition and together with practical charity, there is the charitable act of praying for the sick and imprisoned. If you work in practical charity, you will want to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, therefore you may wish to ask His help in whatever you do for others.

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