By Sandra Cirilli
GREENVILLE – St. Monica’s Prison Ministry of HOPE began at St. Joseph Parish in January 2011. This ministry includes a team of men and women who visit the Washington County Correctional Facility in Greenville once a month representing the light of Christ within the darkness of prison.
This team of ministers facilitate programs on subjects such as forgiveness, faith, Catholicism, the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, gratitude, Christian parenting, self-esteem, the power of the love of Christ, how to pray, fruits of the spirit, the rosary and more.
During Christmas there is a birthday celebration for Jesus and the inmates have a nativity play. This ministry teaches the inmates about Christ in hopes they will be prepared to live a Christian lifestyle upon returning to society. Priests visit Catholic inmates, offering sacraments and sacramentals.
Along with visits and programs, the ministry distributes donated items such as Bibles, devotional material, notebooks, journals, prayer cards, pens, greeting cards, reading glasses, rosaries and toiletries. This ministry works closely with the St. Vincent de Paul Society associated with St. Joseph and Sacred Heart Parishes to donate clothing to the inmates upon their release. The Washington County Correctional Facility is located on King Stokes Road off of Highway 82 West, in Greenville. The facility houses up to 600 inmates. Currently, there are approximately 300 women and 150 men housed there. Volunteers visit the women every second Monday of every month and the men on the secondTuesday. Any and all donations are very appreciated. Contact St. Joseph Catholic Church at 662-335-5251; Sandra Cirilli 662-820-820-0757 or Frank Dantone 662-820-5523 to get involved.
(Sandra Cirilli founded this ministry with Father Richard Somers and remains the leader of it.)