Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fellowship of St. Joseph Behind the Walls

There's something new and wonderful about to happen at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty, Kentucky!  My name is Father Todd Boyce, and  I have the privilege to serve as Institutional Chaplain at EKCC.  We have over 1,700 inmates, nearly 400 staff members, and two Chaplains!  I'm a busy man, but I love what I'm doing.  In the course of any given week I counsel upwards of 15 to 20 men in my office or in their dorm, I notify between 4 and 6 men of family emergencies/deaths, I interact with nearly 25 volunteers, and pray continually about how God's love can be manifested more clearly in this place.


Each time I counsel with an Inmate I'm required to look at his background and know what he's done.  I don't mind telling you that there are many times I didn't have to do that.  Yet, in spite of it and/or because of it, God's love for us is made more clear to me each time.  I have felt, over the past 6 months, that something more is needed in this place for the men to grab hold of than what's currently offered.  Now, please don't misunderstand me.  We have the most wonderful volunteers working with us.  They bring unfailingly bring the men the message of God's salvation in Jesus Christ.  But something more is needed.


The men here need, once they have made the decision to surrender themselves to Jesus, the ongoing opportunity to offer themselves to Jesus.  That is, they need worship; worship that calls them to sacrificially give of themselves and to join themselves to perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  In short, they need the Mass.  They need to learn what, for many of them, they were never taught as they grew up: The value of self-giving.  What is implicitly understood by you and I - namely, that all our giving begins and ends in Jesus - is a forgeign concept to them.  As it stand right now, their only understanding of worship is entertainment.  The Fellowship of Saint Joseph Behind-the-Walls, an outreach ministry of MSJ, aims to change that.  By your prayers and the intercession of our Patron, Saint Joseph, we hope to provide growth for our men through worship; specifically, through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Please remember to pray for The Fellowship of Saint Joseph Behind-the-Walls!   Pray for us as we seek to follow his example of patient teaching and self-denial!  God bless each of you! 

Father Todd Boyce, MSJ

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