Prison Ministry, by 'Accident'
The following is a report from cenacle member Jennifer Ertle of Queen of Heaven Parish in Uniontown, Ohio. This cenacle was the cover story in the spring, 2011 issue of Marian Helper magazine.
This past year, 2011, our Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy prayer cenacle went through many changes, including the formation of a second cenacle group in our parish. So far so good!
As each of us struggles with our own personal challenges, we strive to perform works of mercy the best we can, including a serving in a homeless program; taking Eucharist to the sick; praying for the sick and dying; teaching catechism; serving on a bereavement committee; and working in our latest prison ministry.
We recently went Christmas caroling at a local nursing home (which explains the photos). We enjoyed caroling just as much as the residents did.
We stumbled upon prison ministry by "accident." Our group received a monetary donation to be used to "spread the news." So we did. And some of this "news" we spread went to a prison. Since one of our own parishioners had been sentenced there this past year, we chose this specific one. We sent boxes of rosaries, copies of St. Faustina's Diary, holy cards, pamphlets, books, etc.
Recently, we received a letter from a prisoner not only thanking us for the items, but requesting more. Wow! They are using them!
The problem was, we found ourselves out of money. Then, with full support of our parish priest, Fr. David Durkee, we prayed and hoped for the best. Just before Christmas, an envelope was found in the church with my name on it and the words "prison ministry." The envelope contained $1,000.
Two days later, we discovered that a charitable organization also had donated $300 for our prison ministry. So, we decided the amount was enough to move onto more than one prison.
The funds paid for various Catholic and Christian material, which we boxed up and sent to two prisons and one county jail.
After this, we will do whatever "pops up" for us to the best of our ability.
Learn more about EADM and how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.