CCJS Event: Volunteer Support and Development Day - October 20, 2012, Rosemary Heights
This has been an incredible day for all participants and Ministry team. To all who came and participated, thank you! A special thank you to Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB. for celebrating the mass and for his support.
The day's program consisted of talks and sharings as follows:
- Welcome and Inspirational Opening Comments
Maureen Donegan - Coordinator, Catholic Charities Justice Services
- Inspire and be Inspired
Brian Lang - District Director of Community Correction, Pacific Region Correctional Service of Canada
- Inspiration in practice: Sharing and Dialogue
- How do we make a difference?
Dwight Cuff - Correction Service Canada, Pacific Region Correctional Service of Canada
- Theatre Forum: Dramatic Presentation of Volunteering at the Institutions
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB celebrated Mass and gave an inspiring homily. He also gave a talk on Restorative Justice
From Evelyn Vollet - Director, Office of Service & Justice
Quote from Pope Benedict: "As we begin to celebrate the Year of Faith it provides Catholics locally and throughout the world a precious opportunity to celebrate, deepen and share the spiritual richness of their Catholic faith."
"This ministry is a chance for us to "Open Wide the Door" so those we serve can witness the true love of God."
Thank you to:
- Maureen Donegan and Blair Perra for their leadership.
- CCJS Advisory Committee members: Noval Lee-Son, John Zanatta, Neil Jangula and Fr. Mako Watanabe and Archbishop's representative to Prison, Gerry Ayotte for their dedicated support.
- All Volunteers - "How amazing it is to see how each one, with his or her own special gift which when shared, glorifies God."
Great news about Ad Deum becoming a Foundation and applying for charitable status was shared to inspire participants. Ad Deum is a mens program which specifically targets prisoners for the development of the whole person. The program will be identifying opportunities to obtain funding and expand this great work to other institutions. It received $5,000 grant with the Basilian Development Fund in support of its works.
To learn more about the Prison Ministry program contact Blair Perra, Prison Ministry Volunteer Coordinator
Update on Prison Ministry Works
The work of the prison ministry volunteers continues to meet the needs of many imprisoned and released offenders in our community. Our dedicated volunteers reach out to hundreds of prison inmates as well as to 20-25 supported citizens in community groups each month. Our volunteer effort from January to June 2012 would have our Catholic Charities volunteers contributing an estimated 16,000 hours of service. Many thanks and blessings to all outreach volunteers who endeavored to initiate the inmates’ healing process for the safety and well-being of our community. Well done!
Sadly, we remember some of our volunteers who passed away in the first half of 2012. Mario Caravetta of St. Ann Parish, Abbotsford passed away March 12 following surgery. Mario had nine years of dedicated service to the prisons. Rick Gaisford of St. Matthew Parish, Surrey passed away July 21. Rick Gaisford was active in the first of our CCJS community groups from 2005 - 2012. Fr. David Daws, Diocese of Whitehorse, YT and resident at St. Ann Parish, Abbotsford passed away August 11. He was a good friend and priest to the faithful. Fr. David extended many hours of pastoral service to the displaced and to the prisoners that he served so passionately. May God bless all of our faithfully departed volunteers.
BC Catholic has published an article about our work. Check this out..
- Santa Claus visits local jail for Christmasby Laureen McMahon
"VANCOUVER--Every December Evelyn Florendo plays Santa Claus to detained youth at the Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre."More..
Is the Spirit calling you to become involved in CCJS?
The Archdiocese of Vancouver, Office of Service and Justice provides prison ministry through CCJS (Catholic Charities Justice Services) under the leadership and coordination of Maureen Donegan. Over 190 volunteers FROM OUR PARISHES represent over 30,000 hours of visits to offenders inside the prison and support to released offenders through community support groups .
As one can imagine there is little empathy from the general public for this population who find themselves vulnerable and marginalized, many of whom admit and have accounted for their wrong doing and hope to be given a second chance.
To quote one released offender, “the message we get from the mainstream media is, “We don’t want you out here,” he said “But anyone can make wrong choices. I had a good education and a good upbringing I don’t let what I did 12 years ago define me anymore.” The community integration groups are a piece of the rehabilitation necessary for the successful integration of a released offender. They provide the released offender a fair and equitable chance of succeeding outside of the prison systems.
If you are asking yourself, " why should I get involved with CCJS?" perhaps the real answer is found in the gospel message of Mathew 25. ““Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36)”
Many of us have given food to the hungry, clothing to the naked and responded to the other beatitudes , but most of us have had little opportunity to respond to the words “when I was in prison you visited me. If you would like to volunteer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Training and development are critical to ensuring our volunteers are in the best position to support these people. Our volunteers build relationships and a presence of God that helps them to try and live a crime free life. Please help us with your financial support of this ministry and make a donation today.
Or you can make a cheque payable to "RCAV" - Prison Ministry donation. All donations will be gratefully acknowledged and receive a tax receipt. Please send donations to:
Office of Service & Justice
150 Robson Street
Vancouver BC V6B 2A7
Catholic Charities' CRA No. 10687 9950 RR0001
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3
"We are still a long way from the time when our conscience can be certain of having done everything possible to prevent crime and to control it effectively so that it no longer does harm and, at the same time, to offer to those who commit crimes a way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return to society. If all those in some way involved in the problem ... develop this line of thought, perhaps humanity as a whole could take a great step forward in creating a more serene and peaceful society."
- Pope John Paul II (2000) Message for the Jubilee in Prisons
In Canada, individuals sentenced to a prison term of two years or more are incarcerated at federal facilities. Of the nine (9) federal prisons in the Pacific Region of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), eight (8) are located within the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Approximately 25% of the inmates in these facilities are Catholic and members of our parish communities. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Learn More about Prison Ministry
As baptized people, called and sent by Christ to proclaim the Good News and perform the corporal works of mercy, we assist in:
- Offering the unconditional love, forgiveness and justice of the Risen Lord to prisoners, in word, prayer and action
- Breaking the Cycle of Crime by providing welcoming community support groups for released offenders who seek guidance in making a positive new beginning
Answering the Call
Opportunities for those volunteering with Catholic Charities Justice Services include:
- Helping to raise awareness and educating the members of our communities about the role and importance of prison ministry in the life of the Christian community
- Ministering to the prisoners as support to Catholic Chaplains by attending Catholic chapel services, Taizé prayer, Bible study, RCIA, Alpha, Book Club, and Houses of Healing
- Joining in our Catholic Community Groups in support of released offenders, providing friendship and support to those most in need
- Becoming one of those who pray on a regular basis for victims of crime, prisoners, and for their families
Coordinating 160 volunteers in the Archdiocesan prison ministry programs (Catholic Charities Justice Services, CCJS) are one full-time and one part-time staff members. Established in 1986, CCJS has a distinguished Advisory Committee of four members, and is part of the Office of Service & Justice.
- Maureen Donegan, Coordinator
- Blair Perra, Volunteer Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
CCJS Advisory Committee:
- Neil Jangula, Star of the Sea
- Noval Lee-Son, Immaculate Conception (Vancouver)
- Fr. Makoto Watanabe, Chaplain, Mission & Ferndale Institutions
- John Zanatta, St. Ann
Stories of Interest
Prisons & The Church
For Youth & Young Adult Ministry
Photos & Graphics
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