"When I was in prison, you visited me." (matt 25:36)
A group of parishioners from St. Ignatius attend Mass at Stony Mountain Institution (SMI) on the second Saturday of each month. Following Mass, volunteers visit with the male prisoners either individually or in small groups.
This volunteer role requires good listening skills, compassion, understanding, and open-mindedness. Evangelization is not the focus of our visit; we provide a compassionate presence. Through this, volunteers often see glimpses of redemption and hear healing stories that can inspire us to continue serving in this capacity.
Visitors must complete clearance and volunteer forms which are available from the ministry co-ordinator via email. These take about two weeks to process. New volunteers are interviewed to ensure they are a good match for this ministry, and to discuss the rules established by SMI and the ministry.
The co-ordinator contacts members of this group each month in order to submit a list of visitors to the SMI to ensure entry. A regular monthly commitment is preferred. Photo ID is necessary and provided by SMI. Volunteers will usually carpool to SMI, or can choose to meet the group there. The ride home offers a chance for debriefing. The time commitment per month, including travel, is four hours.