November 20-27, 2016 marks Restorative Justice week in Canada

Restorative Justice (RJ) understands crime from the prospective of the harm caused to people and relationships. It seeks to address the deepest needs of the victim, the offender, and the community.

The Prison ministry of the Archdiocese, Catholic Charities Justice Services (CCJS) focuses on RJ activities by visiting those in prison, attending to those returning to the community, offering support to victims and families, and in extending to the wider Catholic Family education in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and Restorative Justice.

Catholic Charities Justice Services of the Archdiocese seeks to mediate God’s healing and restorative touch to all who are touched by crime. To learn more please contact Maureen Donegan at 604-791-1864 or Angela Veters at

Pope Francis has spoken of the Church as a field hospital, and one of the great forms of wounding in the world is the harm we do to one another.   An approach to healing from the perspective of Restorative Justice would focus first on the people and the relationships harmed, seeking to bring about healing to all.

Dioceses across Canada have joined together to form a “Restorative Justice Network”

Bishop Gary Gordon, the CCCB’s Correctional Ministry Liaison in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Vancouver and other dioceses across Canada, are working to identify a cross-Canada community of Catholics called to be in service to those touched by crime.

We invite you to also join the Restorative Justice Network in Canada to become a part of and to learn more about this group.

Prison Ministry is active in prisons and in our community

Learn more about what we are doing in the different levels of government.

Federal Institutions

Provincial Institutions





Weekly “rosary-making” sessions on

  • Saturdays from 9:30 am to 11:45 am
  • Wednesdays from 1:15 pm to 3 pm

Volunteers make rosaries with the inmates, which are then collected and passed out by another group of volunteers to women living on the Downtown East Side.


Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Life Connections is a program that provides participants with an opportunity to journal individually in a series of about 12 notebooks, and share insights/strategies in the group setting if they wish. This is done with confidentiality and a respect where every individual is at in their life. As a group we share how we can improve the quality of our lives by looking at our decisions we have made in the past, and may still be making now; and finally what we should try to do in the future.

We usually come to the realization that we need God’s Spiritual Direction as our moral compass. We can accomplish this by seeing the reality that different circumstances confront us in life and often we can overcome these challenges by learning how to deal with our emotions. Several realities we agree on are; our actions/words/attitudes can have good or negative consequences; but there always is some consequence good/bad but we can learn how to practice the choices we make. And bring about more positive results just hearing that others have similar situations but have overcome them by taking responsibility.

As with any program, it is quite proportionate to how much we sincerely put into it; the volunteers can attest that they have seen some awesome results. So for whoever participates, it can be a turning point since each day is the first day of the rest of your life.


Volunteers gather every Saturday at 1:00 pm to join Father Dennis Alexander for Mass.  Mass usually starts at about 1:15 pm and goes until about 2:00 pm.  One of the volunteers plays the piano and the rest mix in with the inmates.  After Mass, there is a social with the men until 3:45 pm. The activities range from one-on-one conversations, group conversations, bible study, or playing games (ie Scrabble).  The great strength of the group is the faithfulness of being there every Saturday.  The guys can rely on the fact that they know that the volunteers care about them, and they really appreciate their presence.


Saturday Mass starts at 1:30 pm, and there are three musicians playing guitars and leading the hymns.  All the set up, readings, clean up are done by the inmates.  The volunteers stay 15 minutes after for fellowship and cookies, and leave the Institution at about 2:30 pm.

  • Saturday evening Mass and fellowship time (6:00 to 9:00 pm)
  • Taize Prayer once a month (except in Summer) usually Wed or Fri evenings (6:45 pm to 8:45 pm)
  • Weeknight Catholic Studies (either video series – eg. Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism – or bible study course – eg. Six Weeks With the Bible) once a week on various evenings – usually Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday evenings (6:15 pm to 8:00 pm)
  • RCIA/Inquiry – Youcat Study Guide Saturdays (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm)
  • Ad Deum Book Club Wed afternoons (1:15 pm to 3:00 pm)
  • Finding God in the Dark movie program every other Wed evening (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm)
  • Houses of Healing 12 session workshop once or twice a year (1:00 pm to 3:30 pm)
  • Annually, the Chapel Charity Tournament sponsored by CCJS
  • Saturday afternoon Mass (2:30-4:30 pm)
  • Ad Deum Book Club late Wednesday afternoon (3:00-4:30 pm)
  • Houses of Healing 12 session workshop once a year (3:00-5:00 pm)

Tuesday evenings – Catholic Bible Study

Sessions start by 7:10 pm and are approximately half an hour in length, followed by a 20-minute social.

These are facilitated by the volunteers.

  • 1st Tuesdays: Breaking Open the Word
  • 2nd Tuesdays: 6 Weeks with the Bible
  • 3rd Tuesdays: Various video selections
  • 4th Tuesdays: Discovery Program
  • 5th Tuesdays: Social

Saturday mornings

Volunteers arrive no later than 8:45 am at the Chapel. Mass/Service begins at 9:00 am. When the inmates arrive they are welcomed by the volunteers as they enter the Chapel. Volunteers often will participate in the readings if asked. After Mass they will speak with the inmates that remain, usually one on one and they look forward to the opportunity to interact with the volunteers. The conversations are usually in general terms i.e. how their week is going and what they are looking forward to, such as a visit from family or a change in their status or possible move to another institution. They always express appreciation for the volunteers attending and for their caring interest for their well being. The time spent after the service is generally to about 10:30 am.



(Unlike the Federal Institutions, there are NO Catholic Chaplains in the Provincial Institutions – volunteers are the Catholic presence!)

  • Liturgy of the Word twice a month on Sunday evenings led by volunteers
  • Adult Literacy Program (reading, writing, spelling) twice a week on Monday and Thursday mornings for 1 hour each time

Mass OR Liturgy of the Word + communion service (led by volunteers should a priest not be available) once a month on Saturday mornings at 11:00 am

There are another 40 volunteers soon to start in the below time slots as well on a weekly or biweekly basis for Liturgy of the Word:

  • Wednesdays at 10:30 am
  • Wednesdays at 6:30 pm
  • Thursdays at 10:00 am
  • Saturdays at 1:30 pm
  • Sundays at 1:30 pm monthly
  • Sundays at 6:30 pm



Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) assists released offenders with sexual offences, who are referred to as Core Members, reintegrate back into society.

  • National program founded in Ontario, now with international recognition
  • Core Members participate voluntarily – they are required to apply prior to release or shortly thereafter and screened by CCJS
  • Each circle is comprised of one Core Member and 3-4 volunteers, and they meet on a regular basis to provide structure, support and guidance to those released beginning anew in our communities.   The goal is to empower the Core Member as they transition back into the community
  • The initial commitment is for one year and groups generally meet weekly for 1.5 hours at a public location, usually a church hall.  The meeting dates and times vary depending on group members’ availabilities. Some of the groups form long lasting relationships which extend for more than one year; sometimes several years.



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