The Archdiocese of Washington Hospital Ministry team provides training and support to clergy, religious, and lay people who provide pastoral care to the sick.
Our parishes, as the place where people most experience the life of the Church, must be places of welcome, where everyone is invited, including those in a jail or prison and those returning from a jail or prison.
Jail and Prison Ministry
As has been said, “They are also our parishioners.” They are from our parishes. They are also our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus, himself, invited us to minister to them: “I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:36). There is a jail or prison ministry in every county or district within the Archdiocese of Washington: Calvert County, Charles County, District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, the Southern Maryland Pre-Release Center in St. Mary County, and St. Mary’s County. Our challenge is to walk alongside the incarcerated. As their Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, we accompany prisoners in their everyday experience of rejection, isolation, separation, and loneliness. Our services include Sacraments (Mass, Communion services and Reconciliation), bible studies, prayer services, mentoring and spiritual direction, retreats and providing bibles and religious materials and magazines. We don’t cause a transformation but do provide a space where it can happen. Training is provided by the Archdiocese and the jail or prison where ministry occurs. Most jail ministries have immediate needs for new volunteers.
Welcome Home Reentry Program (WHRP)
The Welcome Home Reentry Program (WHRP) is a mentoring program run by Catholic Charities for formerly incarcerated men and women returning to the Washington metropolitan area: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia. WHRP Mentors help returning citizens address needs, such as barriers to housing, employment, transportation, mental and physical health care, substance abuse treatment, family reintegration, education and literacy. Volunteer mentors help mentees make informed and positive decisions and help steer them away from negative behavior patterns. Mentors often do their work in jail pre-release centers or in church classrooms. Training and supervision are provided by Catholic Charities. The pairing of returning citizens to mentors is done by Catholic Charities.