RCIA with incarcerated seekers

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8 thoughts on “RCIA with incarcerated seekers”

  1. Bernadette Bach

    Our parish has within its boundaries the Penitentiary of New Mexico. We have a gentleman from our parish who has been doing RCIA sessions at the Penitentiary for several years now. Sacraments are celebrated within the walls of the Penitentiary and it is beautiful. The men can only be released from within a small enclosed cell when it is time for the pouring of water for Baptism, reception of the Eucharist or laying on of hands for Confirmation. These men also participate in individual Reconciliation prio0r to reception of the Initiation sacraments. It works and we have had several dozen men participate since this was begun.

  2. We are about to begin RCIA at a prison close to our parish in East Texas. I was happy to see this subject covered here. Thanks.

  3. We live in an area with many prisons and the time it takes to get vetted both by the state and the diocese to be able to minister in these locations is cumbersome and takes many months and years to accomplish. As a result, only our priest is allowed to educate, catechize and then perform the rites..Sol as the RCIA coordinator I leave it in the hands of our pastor.

  4. john michael reyes

    Thanks, Lulu, for sharing. I have always wondered how the RCIA process works with the incarcerated and you gave me a glimpse into its adaptation and responding to the varied ways God’s grace!

  5. When I lived in California (Diocese of San Jose), I was involved with two separate ministries: RCIA and Jail Ministry. After I moved to Nevada (Diocese of Reno), I was able to combine both ministries by doing exactly that, RCIA for the incarcerated. The “process” took about 8 months. I ended up being the sponsor for one of the inmates.

  6. I am very glad to pass this information on to those reading the articles in the TeamRCIA Newsletter. In the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania we have RCIA processes in four of our S.C.I.’s.
    Deacons and Lay Ministers have as full a process as the institution allows including the minor Rites. We do have three official parishes named in 3 out of the 4. Sacramental Ministers preside at Eucharist weekly or bi-weekly. Our local ordinary celebrates Mass at an annual visit and celebrates the initiation sacraments even before their Easter Vigil if some are ready at that time.

    For the past ten years we have announced the names of all the Catechumens and Candidates at the combined Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion with the men’s permission. They do have official sponsors and are very inspired and grateful to be included as members of the Church and are recognized by our diocese. Every year I make sure to mention them in my post event celebration in our diocesan newspaper. They do read the paper and I am told they are very emotional to be viewed in a positive light as members of the Body of Christ.

  7. I journied through RCIA with inmates at a state prison in Pennsylvania for about 10 years until the prison near me closed. Sacraments of iniation were usually celebrated on Easter morning, since the Easter Vigil was not celebrated at the prison. I found that many of the inmates were visual learners; some of them unable to read. Trust was a major issue in establishing a level of comfort with sharing faith journey and relationship with God. Most of the time, sponsors were other inmates. I have been in touch with some of the RCIA participants since the prison near me closed six years ago. Those who are sponsors take their role quite seriously, encouraging the guys they sponsored in their daily walk in faith. I find that for the most part, choice to become Catholic is not seen as a temporary gig to gain favor with a parole board or to have something to do, as jailhouse religion can sometimes be, but has lasting effect on the life of the person once he is released.

  8. Sr. Carolyn Severino, ASCJ

    In the 20+ years that I volunteered in the County Correctional Center for incarcerated men, several men were baptized and confirmed. Those were sacred and joyful events and I was privileged to be the Godparent and Sponsor for them.

    I worked closely with the Catholic Chaplain who was a priest and when we felt that the men were ready, the sacraments were received during the weekly Mass at the facility.

    One never knows how God’s graces are working in, with and through us!

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