Healing and Forgiveness – Ministering to Incarcerated Juveniles

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Among the populations affected by incarceration juveniles can  easily fall through the cracks of the system and their specific needs are often different from their adult counterparts.

In this session Fr. Michael Kennedy and Robert Garcia of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative speak from their experiences as a minister and former gang member, respectively.

The following competencies – as identified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains – will touched upon in this webinar:    4.1.4 – 4.1.5     4.1.10 – 4.1.11

Related key questions (Partners in Pastoral Care): 4


Fr. Michael Kennedy, SJ

While pastor at Dolores Mission in Los Angeles, Fr. Mike developed a passion for working with the poor and marginalized, and met countless families whose lives were torn apart by gang violence and crime. Returning from the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in 2007, he decided to found Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative to create restorative practices and retreats for incarcerated people, with an emphasis on youth tried as adults. Fr. Mike speaks throughout California and the United States on his method of Ignatian meditation. He has been recognized by the California Chief of Probation Officers and the City of Los Angeles for his work transforming the lives of incarcerated youth, their families, and communities.

Robert Garcia

Convicted as a felon when he was a teenager while an active gang member, Robert was

transformed by his interaction with volunteers while incarcerated. Taking charge of this transformation, he obtained numerous degrees and certificates while behind bars. Motivated by this, Robert is now the Assistant Executive Director at the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI). In this work he travels to facilities throughout California striving to heal relationships that are affected by incarceration. Recently Robert has created a program called “Foot Prints”, which works to build support and empowering alternatives to incarcerated gang members.

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