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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Mission Moment: Meeting the Lord in prison

Father Gerard Brinkmann and I gave a mission in Rockview State Prison in Centre County, PA. The prison houses 2,200 inmates, and about 500 men participated in the mission — the Masses, prayer services, individual celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, consultations, and the visits to the cellblocks.

All of the Masses and services took place in the prison chapel, Our Lady of the Mount. The inmates in the early history of the prison built this chapel, which is actually the size of a small parish church. The inmate parishioners call themselves the Men of the Mount.

There was real enthusiasm for the mission. There were many volunteers who helped Deacon Thomas Boldin, the fulltime Catholic chaplain and head chaplain of the prison, to organize the mission. There were beautiful pieces of artwork, created by some of the men, illustrating the theme of the mission — “In Jesus there is plentiful redemption for all.” 

During the services themselves the enthusiasm was evident and contagious. All were caught up in the celebration of the Lord’s love for us. Many times Father Brinkmann and I even forgot that we were in a prison. It was obvious that a real community is growing in this unlikely place.

Another beautiful part of the mission was the men’s reaction to the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The story of Mary gently comforting and strengthening Jesus in his acceptance of the cross intrigued and comforted them. Many asked for smaller images to place in their cells.

As Father Brinkmann and I look back on this experience, we are grateful. We met the Lord in prison. We met him in the inmates. We met him in the joy of acting in his name.

— Fr. Sean McGillicuddy

More Mission Moments
You’re beautiful (Fr. Bill Gaffney)
Watching for dawn (Fr. Daniel Francis)