Rituals & Communion Services in Prison

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Join CPMC for a conversation with Fr. George Williams, SJ, and Fr. Paul Morrissey, OSA, about rituals, communion services, and memorial services behind bars. They will share about the importance and the process of these rituals, which can be facilitated by the laity. This event is also available in Spanish HERE.

Resources:

  • “The peace I’ve experienced hearing confessions in prison”: Read Fr. Paul’s moving article about his experiences of accompaniment and presence as a chaplain at the Philadelphia Prison.
  • Adeodatus/ADROP Program: A prison ministry program located in Philadelphia, the A.D.R.O.P. Criminal Justice Accompaniment & Reform program supports people incarcerated and returning citizens in a variety of ways, including direct services to people currently and formerly incarcerated, educational programming, and political calls-to-action for systemic change. 
  • Voices from Prison and the Edge: In this newsletter published by the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor, you can send an inmate’s—or your own—brief essay on an encounter in the prison and how it affected their lives. Click the newsletter title to view the archive of these powerful stories.
  • American Rehabilitation Ministry: This organization was referenced by Fr. George Williams in the webinar as a resource for chaplains seeking baptistries.

Presenter Bios:

Fr. Paul Morrissey, O.S.A., is a priest in residence at St. Augustine Church in Philadelphia, Penn. Father Paul was born in Philadelphia, the second oldest of 14 siblings. He attended Villanova University and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. After briefly working for Sikorsky Aircraft, Father Paul entered the Augustinians. He has an S.T.L. from Catholic University and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spiritual Direction from Boston College. Since Fr. Paul’s ordination in 1967, his ministries include include: Theology teacher at Villanova University and Merrimack College, Founder of a Pastoral Counseling Center in New York City, as well as being the Spiritual Care Coordinator for the Visiting Nurse Service there. In 2006, he became a prison chaplain at the Philadelphia Prison (thru 2019), and founded the Adeodatus Prison Ministry which conducts a support group at St. Rita’s parish from 2007 to the present. In addition, Fr. Paul is a prolific writer, having authored Let Someone Hold You: The Journey of a Hospice Priest, The Black Wall of Silence (a novel), and numerous magazine articles and op eds. He has a forthcoming memoir Touched by God: Confessions of a Prison Chaplain.


Fr. George Williams, SJ, is from North Haven, CT. After graduation from Syracuse University, he served 5 years as an Air Force officer. In 1984 he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nome, AK working as the rock show DJ and news editor for KNOM, a Jesuit-founded radio station. He entered the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in Boston in 1987. While in Boston, he felt called to work in prison ministry and began working at the Suffolk County Jail as the Catholic Chaplain. He earned an MSW and an M.Div. from Boston College and a master’s degree in Spiritual Direction from the Center for Religious Development in Cambridge. He was ordained a priest in 2004. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to be the Catholic Chaplain at San Quentin State Prison. While working at San Quentin, he researched, wrote and defended his doctoral thesis, “Resisting Burnout:  Correctional Staff Spirituality and Resilience,” earning his Ph.D. in Criminology from Northeastern University. He is a founding member of the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition, established in 2018. He served as Pastor of St. Agnes parish in Haight-Ashbury from 2020-2023 and returned as the Catholic Chaplain at San Quentin in the summer of 2023.

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