Jesus Christ was imprisoned, as were many saints and heroes of our faith. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ calls us to visit the prisoner — it is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Twin Cities Prison Ministry (TCPM) offers everyone the opportunity to answer that call.
TCPM began after Fay and Kevin Connors volunteered to host a retreat through their parish, St. Joseph in Rosemount. Since then, with Fay and Kevin’s leadership, TCPM has evolved into a multi-faceted organization. It educates and supports incarcerated individuals, their families, volunteers, and other prison ministry groups.
Recently, TCPM established a perpetual endowment fund stewarded by the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF). Now the organization is working to build the fund to an amount that will yield a meaningful and reliable source of annual income to support the TCPM mission.
Ministry Beyond the Bars
Each person experiencing incarceration is on their own journey, and TCPM seeks to help them know that God is with them. Volunteers may serve as a prayer companion or a penpal, or join the birthday and holiday card-writing programs — often from their own homes. Inside prison walls, TCPM offers educational seminars, workshops, and 30-minute Ignatian meditation videos. Through every aspect of its ministry, TCPM shares the gift of hope, serving as a reminder that God never abandons anyone.
Ninety-five percent of people who are incarcerated will return to society. TCPM members share ways the incarcerated can experience Jesus Christ where they are. Volunteers give incarcerated individuals guidance and encouragement — gifts that may last beyond a prison sentence.
“One of the most profound things about Twin Cities Prison Ministry is that it brings hope inside the walls of prison,” says CCF President Anne Cullen Miller. “What an example of living out Catholic social teaching — of embracing the dignity of all of our brothers and sisters.”
Volunteers Receive as Much as They Give
For Fay, Kevin, and other TCPM volunteers, this mission is deeply personal. “Every second we’re in there,” Fay reflects, “God shows us miracles. He allows us to be a part of it. And to see that … that, for me, is a blessing.”
Lily volunteers with TCPM as a pen pal to Michael, who is incarcerated. “Michael knows he made big mistakes and knows he deserves prison, but he has Jesus now,” Lily says. “I want him to know God’s unconditional love.”
Through their correspondence, Lily reminds him that not only does he have a friend, he has Christ. “I love this program, and I truly care for Michael,” Lily shares. “God put us together.”
Knowing that lives like Michael’s can be changed for the better, TCPM continues to grow in its mission. The organization always seeks new ways to help. Recently, TCPM has begun to distribute funding to women’s transitional housing, produce videos, translate materials into Spanish, and increase programming for incarcerated individuals. TCPM also now serves as Jail and Ministry Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
Prisons can be a place where people encounter Christ, share the gospel, and transform through God’s love and mercy. The volunteers of TCPM believe that every person has a future and the possibility of true conversion and reconciliation.