Dolan to inmates: "All of us are sinners"

One of the most famous bishops in America — maybe the most famous? — marked Lent with a visit to a local prison.

From a Staten Island website:

The modest chapel at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Charleston is a daily source of comfort and redemption for dozens of the prison’s 950 inmates. Today, its grace and sanctity took on added meaning as Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, spiritual leader of Catholics in 405 parishes in the southern region of the state of New York, visited to celebrate mass during the Lenten season.

Some 75 inmates packed the room, and according to one, perhaps 15 others were turned away.

According to the medium-security state facility’s Superintendent, Dennis Breslin, those who faithfully attend mass were the primary target audience.

Those who made the cut spoke of the Archbishop and finding God in reverential tones.

Former Manhattan resident Pedro Robles, who’s been incarcerated for 13 years on a conviction of murder, said he attends mass “all the time.” He said formal services are held Sunday and Tuesday; a Bible study class meets on Monday and “a special movie is screened on Wednesday.”

Paul Vittoriosa of Huguenot, in year two of a five-year sentence on a burglary conviction, called the day “special.”

“He takes time out of his day to come to us,” he explained.

Inmate Kevin White who sang a song to the Archbishop titled “Beacon of Light,” in which he told Dolan “Every time I pray, I think of you,” said, “I was in awe.” He called the experience of standing and singing before the leader of the Catholic church in this region of New York “extremely motivating and spiritual.”

Inmate Mark Teson began the proceedings with a reading about lepers from the Second Book of Kings. Fellow inmate Louis Gelsiomino, who has discovered a love of singing since his incarceration several years ago, performed “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

For his part, Dolan described the inmates as “an inspiration” to him. “A lot of people come see me. You couldn’t do that, so I came here.” He reminded those gathered that “two prisoners were with Jesus on the cross. He turned to one of them and said, ‘This day, you’ll be with me in Paradise.’ ”

The Archbishop noted that the verses read by Teson about lepers are particularly apt for prison inmates because years ago, when the contagious disease was much more common, lepers were banished to deserted places, much as inmates are shut off from society.

“Jesus likes it when we admit we have problems and are sinners,” he said, noting that “all of us are sinners. We need mercy and healing that only Jesus can give.”

Read the rest.

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8 responses to “Dolan to inmates: "All of us are sinners"”

  1. If Bishop Dolan considers himself a “sinner” then he should step down as a church leader. That he commits venial sins now and then is one thing but if he is indeed a “sinner” then he is not a very good roll model for our youth and certainly not a healer to the aged. Today the politics of the church are getting to be almost as bad as our secular government (made up of 60% or more catholics) which seeks to destroy the family aspect of human life as well as all religious life symbols and traditions. None but the Saviour have been perfect and free of sin yet many have been forgiven and become saints which is a standard for us all to try and live up to. Go and sin no more is not a suggestion but a key to a successful and loving life. Saying that we are all sinners (bad) doesn’t show any success for the church and it’s teachings. Saying that we have sinned and must pay for our sins would be more approtiate and promising the true rewards for having paid for our sins gives us the blessing and grace that God wants us to have…..God Bless.

  2. St. Augustine often said against the Donatists that we are a church of sinners. I would say that the Archbishop Dolan is in good company with the 4th century Bishop of Hippo.

  3. Just by saying we are not sinners is a comitting of sin. Being a follower of Jesus is to admit our shortcomings… exactly why we were given the sacrament of reconciliation. Unless Archbishop Dolan is more than a mere human, he also is prone to sin just as are all the rest of us. What a great inspiration he is to not only preaching the Gospel but living it as an example in his everyday life.

    Pray for our Clergy!

    God Bless!

  4. @Fr. John: St. Paul said all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Do you dispute St. Paul? Do you think yourself holier? If you are so righteous, you do not need Christ for Christ did not come to call the righteous but the sinner.

  5. Oh, heavens! How often do I have to repeat this! Catholics are not just sinners, we are REPENTANT sinners! Why do we have to explain this to Dolan? His patronizing through commiseration is inappropriate.

  6. I think that this is a mokery …Paul Vittoriosa is a MONSTER in palin english and he gets to be in paper claiming it is a special day …The girl he was charged with abusing aided and ebedded in the beating and attemted kidnapping of my BEST friend and he got NOTHING then ..But now she gets to cry wolf and he goes to jail for only 5 years he is a HABITUAL woamn abuser ..He shouild be locked up and the key should be buried with king tut and she should be in jail with him …

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