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The prisons are a mission field.

The prisons are a mission field.

by Carl Brown

How many disciples stayed with Jesus at the foot of the cross? Would I have stayed with Jesus? What was it like for Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross of a condemned man—though he himself was innocent? Yet Jesus said, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… for I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:34,36)

In the state of Ohio, more than 45,000 men and women are in prison. Because we believe in Jesus, we know that those prisoners were made in the image and likeness of God, and we should treat them with respect.

“The prisons are a mission field.” That’s how Marty Arlinghaus views his work as the Director of Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. “Visiting these prisoners every week in 3 different prisons is like running 3 parishes.” Marty visits the prisons 4-6 days per week and right now he has 8 women and 6 men in formation to come into the Church this Easter.

The Catholic Ministries Appeal supports Prison Ministry, along with five other important ministries right here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. How does Prison Ministry impact the men and women that Marty meets with every week?

“It’s the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve never been this happy,” shared one inmate.

“The biggest thing that this ministry gives me is love—what we all search for. What I’ve searched for all my life,” shared another inmate.

“To receive Jesus in the Eucharist every week has been the most important, best thing I could ever have in my life,” shared a third.

In addition to providing formation to inmates preparing to come into the Church, Marty runs a Divine Mercy Group at one prison, a Rosary Group at another, and a Confession Group at a third prison.

“I take communion seriously,” a young man shared with us. “I make sure to confess all my sins before I take it, because… that’s God! That’s Jesus!”

What do things look like for inmates when they are released? How does this Ministry prepare them? In the words of another young man, “being a part of this ministry, and going to mass, and continually staying in prayer is something that I thank God for every day. We are trying to change for the best, so we can get back out there on the streets and do right by God and by others.”

More than anyone in the world, the Catholic Church teaches, feeds, and heals. In our local community, this happens through the CMA!

When you support the Catholic Ministries Appeal, you are responding to the call from Jesus in Matthew 25. You are giving back to a community that has blessed you. You help make our Archdiocese a better community.

THANK YOU for supporting the Catholic Ministries Appeal!

Click here to learn how the CMA supports Campus, Hospital, and Prison Ministries.