Ways to Volunteer

Students from St. Veronica Parish studied the Corporal Works of Mercy and made Valentines for the incarcerated men and women in the diocese.

We welcome new volunteers in all three of our prisons, as well as the jails. There are a few ways to join the Catholic Cincinnati Prison Mission:

Prayer and Support – Going into a detention facility isn’t for everyone. But, we are lifted up by the prayers of those around us. If you’re praying for us, let us know through our Prayer Support Form.

From Margaret Wilson of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Dayton:
” I will say a daily prayer for prisoners,
those beginning their lives again after prison, and all the volunteers
involved in prison ministry.  Thank you for all of the work you do.  God bless.”

Prison: Weekly Team Member – In this role, you will join us at Lebanon, Warren or Dayton Correctional for small group work, RCIA and/or fellowship. There is a minimum weekly commitment and you must be able to attend at least 75% of the time. (See below for the current programming schedules.) Volunteers participate in group discussions, facilitate curriculum and plan future programming with the larger team. Both men and women are welcome to volunteer in any of the prisons. Volunteers must be active in their Catholic faith, whether through personal study or formal education. Facilitation skills and experience working with small groups helpful, but not required. Training is provided. Note: Only those with pastoral/clinical counseling or specialized chaplaincy training backgrounds are permitted to meet one-on-one with the incarcerated men and women.

To learn more about this role, complete the Volunteer Application Form.

Prison: Communion Service Team – While we are blessed with a number of priests who preside at Mass inside our prisons, there are weeks when we must provide a Communion Service instead. Volunteers are placed on a rotating schedule and asked to do a service approximately once every 6-8 weeks. Training is provided.

To learn more about this role, complete the Volunteer Application Form.

Mentoring for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Men/Women  - We welcome mentors inside the prison who will walk with incarcerated men who will be returning to society within a couple of years. The team of mentors goes into WCI twice monthly and continues to meet with the men once they have left prison.  The mentors will be meeting the mentees exactly where they are in matters of faith, family, life and choices.  As well, many men and women who have felony records and have returned to society benefit from a mentor’s guidance.

To learn more about this role, complete the Volunteer Application Form.

Jail Chaplain and Worship Team Member (Hamilton County) – Contact Deacon Don Meyer, Coordinating Chaplain for Catholic Ministry, at (513) 235-3430.

A community basketball team and the Lebanon Correctional "home" team pray before the game.

A community basketball team and the Lebanon Correctional “home” team pray before the game.

Donate – Like any parish ministry, we have continuing needs for study supplies, training and other materials to build community. We work hard to be good stewards of the money provided for our incarcerated family and appreciate your donation of any size. A tax-deduction receipt will be provided.

To donate to the Catholic Cincinnati Prison Mission, click here.

Criteria for Volunteering in Prison:

1. Willing spirit and openness to God’s direction
2. Consistency – Whichever role you choose, our expectation is that you show up on time, 75% of the time.
3. Active participation in the Catholic faith and member of a parish.
4. Over 18 years old and able to pass a security background check.
5. Team member who both supports and shapes the mission.

Process for Volunteering in Prison:

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr receives a homemade thank-you from the men at Lebanon Correctional.

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr receives a homemade thank-you from the men at Lebanon Correctional.

Because we are working inside prisons, the ramp-up time for new volunteers is 2-4 months. Each volunteer is trained by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) and a background check is required. The steps for volunteering are below:

1. Fill out the online Volunteer Application Form.
2. Meet with the Director of Prison Ministries for initial consultation.
3. Fill out and return required state paperwork.
4. Attend a 2-hour training session offered at one of the prisons.
5. Await background check and clearance from the ODRC.
6. Attend small group session and Mass at prison to meet the Catholic community.
7. Choose a programming spot and begin volunteering.

Current Programming Schedules:

LEBANON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION (MEN)

  • Catholic Mass Communion Service Honor Camp: Saturday, 9 a.m.
    Main Compound: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.
  • Small Faith Groups / Bible Study Wednesday, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • RCIA / Specialized Instruction Thursday, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

WARREN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION (MEN)

  • Catholic Mass or Communion Service Saturday, 1 p.m.
  • Small Faith Groups / Bible Study Monday, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • RCIA / Specialized Instruction Thursday, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

DAYTON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION (WOMEN)

  • Catholic Mass Wednesday (1st and 3rd) 1:30 - 3:14 p.m.
  • Fellowship  Wednesday (2nd and 4th) 1:30 – 3:15 p.m.
  • Small Faith Groups / Bible Study Monday, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.