The mission of the Prison Chaplains Ministry is to provide the sacraments and spiritual counseling to incarcerated Catholics, creating a Catholic presence within the prisons and jails. Priests and chaplains provide the sacraments, bibles, catechisms, rosary, and confession guides. Prison chaplains serve not only Catholics but also persons of all faiths, providing spiritual counseling and spiritual solace.
The Prison Chaplains Ministry serves 36 correctional facilities and approx. 10,000 inmates, and is led by Deacon Tim Zinda. Many priests and approximately 32 Catholic volunteers go into the prisons and jails and provide both Catholic and non-Catholic inmates with the Word of God and spiritual teaching and guidance. They listen to the stories of the inmates and they talk with them about their faith. This ministry allows those who would otherwise be forgotten, to ask for forgiveness for their sins and to come to Christ again.
In 2015, the Residents Encounter Christ (REC) weekend retreats held two retreats at Lino Lakes Correctional Facility, each attended by 65 inmates and staffed by 65 inmate volunteers who have previously participated in a prison retreat. In addition, 34 outside volunteers from 8 parishes in our Archdiocese and the Diocese of St. Cloud helped with the retreats. In 2015 REC conducted its first retreat at Stillwater Prison, attended by 36 prisoners with 28 outside volunteers.
Also in 2015, the Prison Chaplains Ministry began the EMBRACE program, linking a prisoner about to be released with parish volunteers who will provide housing, transportation, and work connections to help the inmate reintegrate into society.
The prison chaplains are supported each year as 1 of the 17 Collective Ministries served by the CSAF – http://csafspm.org/whom-you-help/prison-chaplains