The Catholic Cincinnati Prison Mission Team
Our ministry is blessed with volunteers from parishes across the diocese. God calls us from all backgrounds, experiences and stages in our lives. For more information about volunteering in our prisons or jails, click here. To contact our team, click here.
Christine M. Marallen, Director of Prison Ministries
Christine has worked with the incarcerated since 2002 and spent time with the women at the Hamilton County Justice Center and Talbert House treatment program until 2005. In 2003, she joined the team at Lebanon and Warren Correctional Institutions and has continued working with the men in both prisons in catechesis and faith formation. In 2013, she began meeting with the women at Dayton Correctional as well.
As the Director of Prison Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Christine works with the administration at the Lebanon, Warren and Dayton Correctional Institutions and a team of volunteers to bring formation opportunities to the incarcerated men and women in the diocese. She holds a M.S. Criminal Justice and M.A. Theology and is the Past President of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association (ACCCA). Her background includes 12 years at USA Today Newspaper, four years as a Mason City Council Member and she has been an adjunct Criminal Justice instructor at Xavier University since 2006. Christine was a member—along with her five children—of St. Susanna Parish in Mason, Ohio for 18 years. She recently married and is a parishioner of St. Margaret of York with her husband, Todd.
“What a privilege it has been to spend time with our incarcerated brothers and sisters all these years and represent this ministry to the larger community. God has used my collective mistakes and successes for good, just as He promises. Our call to justice is clear; God’s wisdom on that path is perfect. I am blessed to be in this role.”
Father Tom McQuillen
Fr. Tom McQuillen is a priest of the Diocese of Toledo. He is currently serving as the Dean of Men at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Cincinnati. In previous assignments, he has served as an Associate Pastor in Norwalk and Mansfield, Ohio. He also spent 10 years in the missions, serving in a parish in Binga, Zimbabwe and as the Academic Dean of St. Augustine’s Seminary in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Throughout his priestly ministry, prison ministry has always been a part of it. As a seminarian in Washington, DC, he visited a number of prisoners in the DC jail system. Then in Norwalk, he assisted with Masses at the Huron County Jail. In Africa, prison visits continued. In Mansfield, he began with visits to death row when part of it was still housed at Mansfield Correctional. He also provided sacramental services to Richland Correctional. In 2013, he began to assist with Masses at Lebanon and Warren.
“I find working with the inmates to be inspiring. Some of them are striving with all their being to become good and holy men. They are learning the faith, praying hard, and often seeking to grow in the virtues. And this is done in the face of great opposition – from the environment, other people, their own histories and their own weaknesses. Their zeal to be better inspires me to also try to be better.”
Father Paul Keller
Father Paul Jerome Keller was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1993 in Washington D.C. for the Province of St. Joseph of the Order of Preachers. He acquired his Bachelor and Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Faulty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., and his doctorate, specializing in sacramental theology, at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome.
Fr. Keller is presently the Associate Professor of Sacramental Theology at Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary in Cincinnati (The Athenaeum of Ohio) and has taught at Providence College in Rhode Island and Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He also serves as subprior of Saint Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati. Father Keller has made guest appearances on Relevant Radio, the Catholic Channel on Sirius Radio, Vatican Radio, and Catholic Answers Live, discussing various subjects. He also has experience in pastoral work, having served for a number of years as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut and other assignments.
Fr. Keller is the sometime past president of The Society for Catholic Liturgy and continues to serve on its board of directors. He is also the author of 101 Questions & Answers on the Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Anointing as well as A Lenten Journey with Jesus Christ and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Most recently, in preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on marriage and the family, he has authored Is Spiritual Communion for Everyone? and has contributed to the dossier on marriage, both of which have appeared in Nova et Vetera.
Father Eric Wood
Fr. Eric Wood grew up Versailles, a small town in western Ohio. He graduated from Versailles High School in 2006, and went on to study Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. While there, he entered the Pre-theologate Program to begin discerning a vocation to the priesthood. In 2010 he grauduated from Franciscan University, and entered the Seminary for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, Ohio. The next five years were spent preparing for priestly ordination, which took place in May of 2015. Currently Fr. Wood is the Parochial Vicar of St. Francis de Sales in Lebanon and St. Philip the Apostle in Morrow.
Deacon Don has been involved in working with the incarcerated since 2002 when he began the jail ministry as part of his Field Education Project in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program at the Athenaeum of Ohio. Deacon Don received his Masters in Pastoral Ministry from the Athenaeum in October, 2004. He was ordained a Deacon in April, 2007. He was then assigned as Deacon to St. John the Baptist Parish in Harrison, Ohio, where he has been a parishioner since 1979. After the passing of Fr. Mark Schmieder, who served the incarcerated for many years in Hamilton County and elsewhere, Deacon Don was appointed by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr as the Coordinating Catholic Chaplain at the Justice Center in Cincinnati in October, 2010 and has been serving there since.
Deacon Don’s responsibilities include spiritual counseling and direction to men and women incarcerated at the Justice Center, Talbert House and River City facilities. He coordinates the scheduling of teams for Catholic Worship Services held every Sunday afternoon at the Justice Center and at the Talbert House. He also leads a team himself. He has arranged for Mass to be celebrated at the Justice Center on both Christmas and Easter for men and women. He is also actively involved in working with the Dismas Journey Project throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati helping returning citizens get back on their feet, including help with employment. Deacon Don is also involved with the St. Vincent de Paul Society at his own parish and with the area office in Cincinnati working with their program, which has been developed through a grant from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to help returning citizens.
“It has been a blessing to accompany men and women through this challenging part of their lives reestablishing their relationship with the Lord and finding their own self worth, enabling them to move forward to restore their lives with faith and confidence.”
The CPPM Volunteer Prison Team
To hear from some of our volunteers, CLICK HERE.
Deacon Jack and Linda Schaefer – Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Monroe
Deacon Bill Schaefer – Holy Name Parish, Trenton
Beverly Smith – St. Joseph Parish, North Bend
Bob Stadler – St. Francis de Sales Parish, Lebanon
Jim Flynn - St. Leonard Parish, Dayton
Paula Yerke – Guardian Angels Parish, Cincinnati
David Vandivier – St. Matthias Parish, Finneytown
Steve Hendy, St. Ignatius, Monfort Heights
Patty Steele – St. Margaret of York Parish, Loveland
Tom Hattersley – All Saints Parish, Montgomery
Andrew Wellmann – Seminarian, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
Kendall Ketterlin – Seminarian, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
Sister Faustina Maria – Children of Mary
Seminarians from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Cincinnati