Not everyone shows up to talk about prison. Welcome to the conversation.
We–and thousands of people around the country–have decided that going inside the walls typically meant to segregate portions of society is among the best ways to spend our week. While the idea (not to mention the actuality!) of passing through a metal detector and learning the code words for hostage situations isn’t for everyone, it is the call and communion of many who believe that incarceration ministry ranks right alongside any important issue we face in modern society.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is comprised of 19 counties and over 400,000 Catholics. Inside the diocese are dozens of jails and three prisons which house thousands of people….and no real way to determine how many are really Catholic. Besides, what’s the measure? Baptized Catholic at birth but never raised in the faith? Raised in a faith but never encouraged to walk with a particular denomination? Unchurched as a child but curious about faith and Catholicism? In the end, we spend time with incarcerated men and women who decide that they want to be part of any conversation that begins with questions and leads to answers. God’s answers, not ours. Thankfully, the job doesn’t demand that theologians show up. Regular people do. Broken people. Blessed people. Been-there-done-that-and-but-for-the-grace-of-God people. That’s you and me, dear reader.
If you’re curious about what goes on inside a prison or jail — and have exhausted all the television renderings — feel free to contact us. We will try to answer any questions you have about the incarceration experience. If you have a family member or friend currently serving time, we might be able to shed some light on his/her experience as well. If you simply don’t understand or agree with the decision to offer programming and attention to the detention set, shout about that as well. What we seek, among many objectives, is dialogue on the topic. We will even come to you if you’re sponsoring an event.
For now, thank you for wandering through our site. Our mission field is larger than we’d like; our laborers fewer than we require. But, our hearts are full and our spirits on fire. What’s not to love about that?
Good lookin’ out,
Christine M. Shimrock
Director of Prison Ministries
Archdiocese of Cincinnati