In the true spirit of the Year of Mercy, Bishop Richard J. Malone celebrated mass for about one hundred female prisoners at the Albion Correctional Facility in Orleans County Monday evening.
"All of these women have heard the voice of the Shepherd, calling them to the Sacraments of Initiation, and that's a beautiful thing," said Bishop Malone, who baptized seven inmates into the Catholic Church, confirmed three others who had previously been baptized in the church, and also received one inmate who was raised in another Christian faith into the Catholic Church for her first time. All of the women took part in the Eucharist, in the hopes that it would give them the strength to prepare them for a mission.
"I thank you all for having ears and hearts that are tuned to the voice of the Shepherd," said the bishop, who issued a challenge to the inmates to be 'missionaries of mercy' in the prison setting, especially in this Year of Mercy. "If you can go out of this room and glorify the Lord by your life, by the simple way we live. It may not always be by your word, but sometimes by patience or showing compassion to someone, or trying to build people up when so much in our world cuts us down."
The medium-security NY State prison for women has approximately 1,000 inmates, 350 who identify themselves as Catholic women. Two hundred of them are active, in one way or another in the Catholic Church. The Church incarcerated serves as an active community at the prison with a parish council, parish outreach, religious education and Mass every Monday evening in the Catholic Chapel.
There are many opportunities to serve the population at Albion Correctional Facility by coming into the prison as a Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Volunteer, or by serving in prayer, support, or fundraising activities through the work of Fully Alive Ministries out of Holy Trinity Parish in Medina, NY.
Anyone interested in learning more about prison ministry can contact Christine Kesterson at the Albion Correctional Facility, 585-589 5511 ext. 4800.