Posts Tagged ‘Prison Ministry’
Jesuit Father Ted Kalamaja has spent the past 25 years of his life working in a New Orleans prison and said he has loved every minute of it.
It’s a ministry he discovered during a sabbatical in Berkeley, Calif. Fr. Kalamaja said he was thinking about what he wanted to do and when he went to a prison it hit him: “There was this huge mess hall and there were all these inmates sitting there in blue denim. I knew then that this was the reason I was brought there. I could minister to these men because there was nothing between me and these inmates. I had free access and felt they needed me.”
It began as a six-week stint as a chaplain to the prison and became his calling.
Today Kalamaja is a chaplain at the New Orleans Parish Prison, where he said, “There has never been any trouble or violence in the prison for me. These are just poor, poor people and our culture has ripped them off.”
There are only two things that can keep these young men out of prison: “their family and the church,” Kalamaja said.
Read more about Kalamaja and his prison ministry at the Wisconsin Province website.
Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy, executive director of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI), was given the 2010 Distinguished Service Award by the Chief Probation Officers of California in January.
Fr. Kennedy, who advocates for the transformation of the justice system to become more restorative than punitive, was honored for his work at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, where he is co-chaplain. His focus is on juveniles who are facing life sentences for serious crimes.
Kennedy introduces the youth to contemplative prayer using the Spiritual Exercises and guides them in meditation, which enables them to lead each other in prayer and meditation. For more on Kennedy’s ministry, read The Tidings story.
Why does he join the Society of Jesus?
How does he know his calling?
The Jesuit Conference of the United States has launched a new video series interviewing Jesuits from across the country discussing their vocations, their various paths to becoming a Jesuit and what it has meant to them to answer God’s call. National Jesuit News will feature a new video interview each week. You can watch additional videos by going to the Jesuits Revealed channel on YouTube.
Today’s video features Jesuit Father Kurt Denk of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus discussing his experience of finding Jesus during his ministry to prison inmates. You can watch additional videos with Fr. Denk here and here at the Jesuits Revealed channel on YouTube.