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Diana Roda

Christ calls on all of us to perform works of mercy. Here's the story of one woman who does so through ministering to prisoners.

By Diana Roda

Sometimes, I wonder if I am really making a difference as a volunteer in the Catholic Chapel of Sing Sing, a maximum security prison in Ossining, N.Y.

Then a recent incident showed me God's mercy in action. I was just beginning my weekly routine in the prison, which starts with Holy Mass, when the priest collapsed on the altar. As Father received medical attention, one of the inmates went to the podium and led everyone in praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet for him.

The correctional officers raced into the chapel and were amazed to find the inmates devoutly and orderly praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet. The following week, one of them asked me how Father was feeling and to find out what "magic" the chaplet seemed to possess.

"Magic?" I responded. "Not magic, but mercy and forgiveness!"

I know from my own personal journey of mistakes that to be forgiven is one of the greatest joys in life. I want the Sing Sing inmates to know that same "freedom" and joy.

By teaching the inmates The Divine Mercy Chaplet and its promises from the Diary of St. Faustina, I hope to give them the tools for salvation and conversion not only for themselves but in praying for others, especially the dying.

The experience of seeing the inmates praying the chaplet for Father now makes going to Sing Sing even more important.

Diana Roda, a retired schoolteacher and Marian Helper, lives with her husband, Chuck, in Garrison, N.Y. In addition to her prison ministry at Sing Sing, she is active in many ministries in her parish. Learn how you, too, can become a Marian Helper.

Do you work in prison ministry? Share your stories below.

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Marina - Sep 25, 2009

Please, can the inmates be asked to also pray for a young 32 year old priest ordained 5 years ago, but suffering for the past 10 years from a spine injury, due to a fall. He has gone to various doctors over the years and tried various treatments but to no avail. He is always in immense pain, yet is always smiling and calm. No one can say looking at him that he is suffering, because he never shows it. Even the doctors are amazed as to how he can bear his pain so cheerfully. He has been given a year's rest by his Bishop to recuperate. Right now he has gone to consult a spine specialist. Please pray that he may may be healed soon. He is such a wonderful priest with so much of promise! Please pray for his mother too who has various illnesses and finds it difficult to look after her ill priest son who is at home with her right now. They have a good woman friend who stays and helps them. God Bless You All!

Michael - Sep 21, 2009

Thank you for this story. You are making a difference. That's what I want to do; make a difference before I depart this life. I am also going through a dark period but know that I have hope in God's Mercy.

Bob D. - Sep 8, 2009


Many Thanks for sharing this great story with us! We are not surprised of the good work you do for The Divine Mercy and the response of the man who came forth to lead his brothers in the Chaplet. I have two classmates in my Diaconate class who work in prison ministry and I sent them your article.

Great job D! God's Blessings!


Joyce smith - Jan 14, 2009

God Bless all those who spread God's great mercy and love for us. I was drawn to God's mercy during dark and difficult moments in my life, I would find images or words that led me to realize that Our Lord was drawing me towards Him through divine mercy. I introduced it to my 4th graders at a catholic school in the country of Belize and was amazed to see how their eyes were watery during the recitation. It was special momentS of healing and of experiencing God's immense love for all of us!! Blessed be our Lord!!

Bea Merwin - Jan. 10. 2009 - Jan 11, 2009

God Bless you for all you do to help us grow and spread the power of Divine Mercy which is Love and Mercy itself.

Jeffrey Mark - Jan 10, 2009

Thankyou for Serving the Very Least,in Our Mist

Roberto christian - Jan 9, 2009

I am going to ludlow correctional facility tomorrow thru the just faith program.thanks forthe article

Susan - Jan 7, 2009

thank you for this. I am just beginning prison ministry and I am glad to know of ways we can help inmates through Divine Mercy.