Jail & Prison FAQs

What is the ministry’s mission?
From its inception, Jail/Prison Ministry has been dedicated to the proposition that every human being is worthy of God’s love through the redemptive power of the cross. Toward that end, the Ministry’s volunteer ministers are dedicated to bringing the Good News to the least of their brethren.
 
Why reach out to persons who have broken the law?
The New Testament states in Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. There is only one Judge of souls.
Also,  2 Peter 3:9 states “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
 
Isn’t it dangerous to go into these Jail/Prison facilities?
In the twenty years that the ministry has been active, no one has ever suffered any injury or been threatened in any way while ministering in any of the facilities. On the contrary, volunteers frequently attest to the unexpected blessings they receive from ministering to their brothers and sisters behind bars.
 
What are the qualifications for a Jail/Prison Minister?
You must be a Catholic in good standing (a practicing Catholic who is able to receive Holy Communion regularly) over 18 years old and registered in a parish within the Diocese.  You should be able to share the basic teachings of the church, Catholic prayers and devotions.
 
What if I want to volunteer but I don’t want to go alone?
You do not have to go alone if you don’t want to.  The majority of volunteers minister in pairs or in a group.
 
 What do I need to do if I am interested in volunteering?
Call our office and someone will meet with you and explain the various facilities in your immediate area.  Once you have decided where you would like to minister, an application must be filled out and approved by the facility.  A background check ( in some instances fingerprints are also required)  will be conducted. After approval by the facility, a training session at the facility will follow. When ministering to minors, the Diocese additionally requires a training on “Protecting God’s Children”.
 
What types of detention facilities house children?
In the four counties within the Diocese, there are three juvenile detention facilities, two juvenile boot camps and twelve immigrant “unaccompanied minors” facilities.  Some of the “unaccompanied minors” (immigrant children) are as young as 5 years old.
 

Jail & Prison Ministry
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd.
San Juan, TX 78589

Ms. Ofelia de los Santos, Director 
E-mail: odelossantos@cdob.org
Telephone: (956) 784-5057
Facsimile: (956) 784-5096

Rev. George Gonzalez, Diocesan Chaplain
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish
1313 W. Buchanan St.
Harlingen, Texas  78550
E-mail: fathergonzalez@gmail.com
Telephone:  (956) 266-1813
Facsimile: (956) 423-4670

 

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