Last Saturday was the feast of Sts Processus and Martinian, patrons of wardens, guards, and prison police. Legend says that they were the jailers of St Peter and St Paul, who were converted when the apostles were miraculously freed (Acts 16).
This got me wondering. In certain Christian circles we hear a lot about prison ministry. Visiting prisoners is one the basic Catholic corporal works of mercy. Pope Francis has been phenomenal when it comes to loving the prisoners in his flock–it’s not just stuff like these deeply moving photos, but also his declaration that any prison cell door can be a Holy Door for this Jubilee year. There’s still an overwhelming need, but the need is at least being spoken about in many churches and parachurch ministries.What about the pastoral needs of COs, though? They too are people “inside,” part of a brutalizing and dehumanizing system; they too make their choices under conditions of severe constraint that push them away from Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I did a quick Google search but would really love to hear from anyone who has experience in ministering to the prison system’s employees. Email me email@example.com if you’d like to talk. (Depending on what I find, this may be an article, or it may just be a roundup of resources.)
At Golgotha a condemned thief and the centurion set to guard him both confessed Christ. His is the power before which all earthly systems of violence stand powerless.