Spring Break is Not Synonymous With Prison Break -- But It's a Start to a Different Life!

OK, my Spring Break is coming to and end, but for 12 inmates at GBCI, it's just beginning. I returned to DePere after having spent the last two days visiting Mom and Dad at my other home. I returned to my DePere home early this evening to take part in a Lenten Retreat at the maximum security facility here in Green Bay -- it's the first we've had since 2003.

GBCI Roman Catholic Chaplain Mike Donovan did a great job not only picking the inmates to partake in the event, but he also was very wise in choosing several great people with ample prison ministry experience to minister to the guys' needs throughout the weekend. I'll be back at the prison by 7:30 AM on Saturday and will join Father Paul DeMuth who will lead the Reconciliation Service for late morning; the two of us will then be available for individual confessions and I will then preside at the Saturday night Mass later in the day.

The beginning of the retreat went very well; again, the speakers were superb, but the inmates also added to the depth of the event by sharing on very deep levels from the get-go. This does not always happen so soon at any retreat setting -- it usually takes a little more time to warm up to the experience. This was not the case tonight at GBCI. I can only wonder how the bar will be raised on Saturday -- time will tell.

Given the sacramental needs at the college parish as well as at the prison, I did not get as much time away as I would have wanted this week -- nevertheless it has been a great week, especially in the midst of the sacred season of Lent. While I will return to work feeling a little renewed, my greater hope is that the guys at GBCI will also feel a renewed since of life, brotherhood and spirituality -- shared together as Church: a Spring Break of a different sort! Hopefully this is the faith that will have lasting effects -- for all involved in the weekend's activities!

"Throw open the gates to a just nation; one that keeps faith!"
Isaiah 26:2


Anonymous said...

WHEW ... makes me tired just reading about your activities during what was supposed to be some leisure time for you; but I know you thrive on the "human connections". Like many vacations, you have to come home to rest up.

Today, I spoke with someone who was closely involved with the GBCI retreat. She said it was, for her, possibly the most uplifting, religious experience and was still on "the best kind of high".


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