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Location: Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It Is Easy To Forget

It is easy to forget that people need our help when they are out of sight. Recently I received a letter from a father of a man who is incarcerated in a prison located in my diocese. The man wrote:
My son, one of your lost sheep, needs your help. He has been in prison for more than a year. In that time he has heard Mass one time and had communion brought to him one other time. He is hungry for the word of God. He helps with the chapel program, attends Sunday and Wednesday services, and is taking two Bible study correspondence courses. None of these activities, however, are though the Catholic Church. Baptist, A.M.E., and other faiths provide a religious forum for inmates. The Roman Catholic Church in your diocese does not.
The concerned father wanted to know why there was no consistent Catholic ooutreach to the men in that institution who desired the support of their Church. I wrote the man back, apologizing, "It saddens me to know no priest has visited your son yet. Icertainly will look into that situation, as I have spent much of my priesthood in prison ministry. Too often these are the forgotten people in our Church, men and women in prisons."
Bishop Robert J. Baker, Diocese of Charleston. NB: the Diocese of Charleston has a lay Ministry, "His Way Ministry" headed by Jack McGovern, that serves those incarcerated in the Diocese of Charleston. Mr. McGovern can be reached at 843-763-5494.

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