Pope Francis greets inmates in September as he meets with them at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Pope Francis greets inmates in September as he meets with them at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia during his historic visit to the United States. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Deacon Greg Reynolds Coordinator, Jail Ministry
Deacon Greg Reynolds
Coordinator, Jail Ministry

The Fort Collins Catholic Jail Ministry provided by Saint Joseph and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton parishes is a unique, wonderful and very rewarding ministry. We received 10 nominations and three awards from the Larimer County Jail at the annual volunteer appreciation ceremony this year! We are thrilled that Pope Francis emphasizes caring for the incarcerated and thankful for the revival of volunteer interest.

There are several ways to get involved. Volunteers can be part of a Bible study on Monday afternoons. We also offer Communion services to separate groups of men and women on Tuesday evenings, one-on-one listening and sharing of the Faith on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as a separate Mass for the men and women one Saturday morning a month. We particularly need guitarists to pick up an occasional set of Tuesday night or Saturday services. Inmates are uplifted by the music and you don’t have to be perfect.

The jail ministry is unique in that we minister to Catholic and non-Catholic inmates. We are working with a different type of people whose actions can be unpredictable at times. Some have many convictions, some are first time offenders, some are drug addicts, some have mental health problems, and some use the jail as a place for shelter and to get three meals a day. Some inmates are a combination of two or more of these. The jail requires clearance to get in and once you walk in, it takes clearance to get out. The closing and the locking of doors going into and traveling between different sections is a different sound. To some it is nothing. To others, it is eerie or unnerving. Most volunteers are either not bothered by the sound or get used to the sound after a few visits. Unexpected lockdowns can delay or curtail services.

Training: The jail provides mandatory training to help volunteers deal with unexpected situations. Deacon Greg Reynolds provides additional training prior to going to the jail and on-the-job training in which you will be accompanied by those who are doing Bible study, Communion service, a one-on-one visit, or celebrating Mass. To become a volunteer, you must go through a background check by the Larimer County Sheriff Office.

You will need to speak with Deacon Greg for a preliminary interview to get a full understanding of the ministry. If you are a good match for the jail ministry, you will need to complete and return to Deacon Greg the volunteer application/statement. Deacon Greg will turn the form in to the volunteer coordinator at the sheriff’s office for approval.

Once you are approved, you may visit the jail three times before taking the required Sheriff’s office orientation class, which is an all-day class, usually on Sundays. Classes resume February 2016. During these three preliminary visits you must be with a volunteer at all times. Once you have taken the class, you may visit approved areas.

If you have any questions, please contact Deacon Greg at the Saint Joseph Parish offices, (970) 482-4148, ext. 230.

Thank you for your interest in the Jail Ministry!

Sincerely in Jesus Christ,
Deacon Greg Reynolds
Coordinator, Jail Ministry Program

Shelley Heiserman - Volunteer Coordinator and Pastoral Council member - Saint Joseph Catholic Church - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521The Altar Society is being renewed at our parish under the guidance of Shelley Heiserman. Dedicated volunteers, will you please consider helping fulfill Fr. Steven’s vision of a sparkling church by Holy Week? There are tasks for every type of cleaner at any ability level, from one-time light and deep cleaning to weekly and monthly regular cleaning. Shelley promises that there are tasks to fit anyone’s schedule and time commitment level. Please contact Shelley directly at (970) 568-8666, or email her at: shelleyheiserman@gmail.com.

Ask anyone who has played, and they’ll tell you the Saint Joseph Catholic School Golf Tournament takes fun to new levels. For players from the sublime to the comical, the school golf tournament makes new friends every year, and showcases the great community that is Saint Joseph Catholic Church and School. Save the date, June 10, 2013 at the Fort Collins Country Club. Alumni and businesses: This is the perfect time to mix with a great crowd. Sponsorship opportunities are available! Volunteers welcome! Contact: Nicole Nigro, (970) 484-1171, ext: 229, for more information.