On September 15, 2021 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service approved competencies for minister formation and certification for Catholic pastoral care in prison ministries and for Certified Catholic Correctional Chaplains. In my role as Director of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry at the USCCB, it has been a privilege to work with colleagues in the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (CPMC) and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) as they in turn have worked with the USCCB subcommittee to develop these innovative and comprehensive competencies, which will help prepare Catholics across the country for the vital work of providing spiritual care for those who are incarcerated or affected by incarceration in any way, including those in immigrant detention. They also help educate about the many inequities and injustices in our current criminal justice system and prepare ministers to engage those within the system, Catholics and the broader public in advocating for a system that is more in line with the demands of restorative justice and Catholic social teaching. I am immensely proud the work of so many pastoral caregivers, experts, clergy and laity, Catholic prison chaplains and others who helped produce these competencies and grateful to the USCCB subcommittee for their support and approval of these competencies which will be used to support priests, deacons, and lay women and men involved in this chaplaincy and pastoral care work.
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Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition: Testimonial Videos
In support of the work of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition to develop national prison ministries competencies for the preparation of volunteer and professional laity for this pastoral care work, my office at the USCCB in support of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry worked with representatives from both organizations to produce a series of testimonial videos of Catholic lay prison ministers discussing the importance of Catholic presence in care for those in incarceration or affected by it. We also helped produce testimonials about the value of Catholic presence in prisons, jails and detention facilities from formerly incarcerated citizens. The videos are joint productions of the USCCB and CPMC. These videos are being used by the USCCB and both organizations to promote the importance of prison ministries, not only from the standpoint of individuals ministers but as a focus for parish and diocesan-based pastoral care.
Subtitles are available on each video in English, Spanish and French. Click the “CC” icon and use the gear icon to select your preferred language.