It is our belief as Catholic people that we can bring a message of faith, hope, justice, and reconciliation to the incarcerated, newly released, offender's families and public servants. Criminal Justice Ministry (CJM) for the Archdiocese of San Antonio recruits, screens, and trains volunteers from parishes throughout the archdiocese to minister both inside the walls and in the community. In order to serve this special population, we work directly with our parishes and offer formation and on-going education to help people understand the needs of those we serve. This ministry of sharing God’s love, compassion and encouragement can lead to spiritual transformation in the lives of those served. The Pastoral Care offered is rooted in Catholic teaching and a resource for day-to-day living inside the walls, at home or in the community.
There are four major areas of emphasis in the archdiocesan CJM Program:
• Organize and lead Catholic worship, prayer, Kolbe retreats and catechetical programs for adult and youth offenders
• Provide support to families, victims and all others impacted by crime in the community
• Assist ex-offenders and their families, including those on parole and probation, with basic needs and spiritual direction
• Support community efforts to address various social justice issues
Within the 19 counties of our archdiocese, there are 35 facilities of incarceration including, state prisons, federal detention centers, county jails and juvenile centers with over 10,000 Catholics making the prison population one of the largest "parishes" in the archdiocese. Needless to say, it takes many dedicated volunteers (lay, religious and clergy) who are willing to minister to these fellow Catholics through worship services, prayer, retreats and teaching.