About Our Volunteers
We have about 10 or 12 volunteers who are VERY active. Others have attended only a meeting or two and have not yet gotten involved. Actively visiting prisoners is not for everyone. We still would appreciate your participation because we always need prayer warriors. We are also hoping to expand to an active letter/post card writing ministry. If you think it is something you would enjoy or have an aptitude for -- then we welcome you – either as an active visitor or in some other capacity.
What We Do
Our ministry focuses on bringing Jesus, in Word and His Presence in the Eucharist to the incarcerated in Johnson County. The weekly sessions center of the Word of God, and through the working of the Holy Spirit, the love of God is experienced. It is our sincere desire to “put on Christ” so as to offer to Hope to those who are in most need. It is not only the incarcerated who will experience the outpouring of Grace from these sessions – but nearly every session brings the same Grace upon the volunteers who facilitate the sessions. We are hopeful that volunteers from parishes outside of Johnson County will join us and offer similar visits to those who are incarcerated within their county. It should be emphasized that not all may be called to go out and participate in prison visits. We hope to expand our ministry into “letter-writing and post-card” writing campaigns. We haven’t started this phase of the ministry, but hope to implement such a program in the near future.
How We Help Prisoners
A volunteer will feel the Spirit at work at each session. Sometimes, it is not apparent that the one-hour session has met with “results” – but we know that God promises that it is up to us to plant the seed and He causes the growth. More than anything, we want to give each prisoner hope in the knowledge that God loves them and people care about them. We are answering the call of Jesus who will tell us at the last judgment: “When I was in prison you visited Me”. (Matthew 25:36).
What Our Volunteers Do.
Volunteers visit incarcerated men, women and juveniles in the Johnson County, Kansas detention (jail) system. Those that we visit are either awaiting trial; or sentencing; or transfer to a more permanent facility. We visit men at the Johnson County Detention Center in Gardner; we visit (mostly) women at the Johnson County Detention Center in Olathe; and at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center in Olathe we visit juveniles – both boys and girls under the age of 18. Recently we have been asked to visit youth at the Wyandotte County Detention Center. The visits are arranged through each facility and last for approximately one hour. Two volunteers are present at each session. One volunteer brings the Eucharist and we start each session with a Communion Service for those Catholics who want to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Following Eucharist we “break open the Word” and the volunteers lead a discussion surrounding a Gospel reading that has been selected from one of the Liturgical Readings for the past or coming week. All sessions include personal petitions. The number of prisoners attending each weekly session varies. Some weeks there may be only a handful of prisoners and other weeks there may be twenty or more. WE HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED AN INCIDENT WE FELT THREATENED OR INTIMIDATED IN ANY WAY. There is always a guard stationed in the area (who does not participate in the session). What we experience is heartfelt thanks from the prisoners. In addition, some volunteers participate in “one-on-one” sessions with prisoners who make such a request. Not all volunteers feel comfortable in such sessions, but we are fortunate to have volunteers who have both the time, the fortitude and the Spirit-inspired Grace to share Jesus with individual prisoners. We are in the process of implementing the Sacrament of Confession on a monthly basis. One of the priests in the Diocese will go out with the two volunteers and hear individual Confessions during the same session.
If volunteers want to get involved in prison ministry but do not feel “called” to visit those in prison, we are in the process of planning a letter/post-card writing ministry. We receive prayer petitions each week and your prayers are also needed.
We welcome any inquiries about our ministry. If you would like to learn more, please contact us. Meetings are held on the third Monday of the month at the Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th Street, Overland Park, KS – but we do not meet each month. Please contact us or call John Stanley at 913-322-8880 (or send an email at email@example.com) to confirm that we are meeting on any given 3rd Monday. E-mails are sent out in advance to confirm meetings.