The Peace I've Experienced Hearing Confessions in Prison
“The two of us, he in his orange jumpsuit and me in my black clerical shirt and trousers, sat next to each other at one of the hexagonal metal tables in the middle of the cell block, visible to other inmates in the tiers above and below us. Some of them peered out of the small plastic windows on their cell doors. The guard who brought Salvo down from “the Hole” 15 minutes earlier, after shackling his hands and feet with chains, glanced up from his desk about 10 yards away from us as I placed my hands back on the table. I was aware of how intimate this praying looked. I didn’t mind. The tears said it all, to God if not to anyone else.”
This excerpt comes from a reflection by Fr. Paul Morrissey, O.S.A., which was originally published in America Magazine. The article can be read in full by clicking the button below, which will direct you to America Magazine’s website.
Paul Morrissey, O.S.A., is a priest in residence at St. Augustine Church in Philadelphia, Penn. He served as a Catholic chaplain at the Philadelphia Prison from 2007 to 2019. This article has been excerpted from his forthcoming memoir Touched by God: Confessions of a Prison Chaplain.