Training for prison ministry ended up being much more than I expected, and I don't mean the training itself. I'm not an expert nor may I ever be, but I did read a book to get some insight, and it ended up being pretty much what I expected. It was actually very corporate like, with a lot of do's and mostly don'ts. The strange part began almost immediately, as I had to go outside to get information a couple of times before entering. I was met so warmly by the chaplain director, someone whom I've only met twice before. He is such a caring and faithful man.
Two gentlemen from Kairos came by to speak with me during the breaks. One gentlemen was definitely full of the Spirit and was excited about his ministry. I really know that we will meet again sharing the Lord to those in prison. Next another gentlemen shared his relationship with another one of my brother candidates. The two of them made me feel very welcome and proud of what I'm undertaking.
I then spoke with the Anglican chaplain and he greeted me ever so warmly...."I've heard so much about you and I was really looking forward to meeting you!" Wow, talk about a great way to say welcome on board. A little later we spoke for several minutes and we really had a great conversation on faith.
Before leaving while turning in my paper work to get my badge, I spoke with the reentry director. After reviewing the paper work he mentions to me, ..."my family and I attend the same church you do.! It is such a beautiful church that reminds me of the one back home!" He then spoke of his faith and his family and of his love for this area. Then came the question........."Many of us here have asked ourselves why would anyone come to volunteer at a place like this?" My answer was...."The best way I can explain it is like this, it is a calling, similar to one being called to the priesthood! The Lord is calling people to care for his children!"
Then the week started a little rough as I was sick for the next few days. I missed my Monday evening class on the New Testament Letters of St. Paul. I'm not so sure I've let any of you know about this yet, with the exception of my fellow brothers and sisters taking this course. This course is absolutely fantastic. My favorite thus far! My wife and my mother told me.........."you say that at every course!" Well, maybe I do but I reserve the right to update my favorite list at will. This course has challenged me to think in a very different way, to see things in a very different way. If the intended results were to change us, it has worked for me. Our teacher asked us about our faith......" Is your faith a security blanket, or is it something that causes something to stir deep inside of you, enough to create a change!"
Holy Thursday I attended alone and enjoyed being with all the congregants. For the past couple of years I have been heavily involved with the Liturgies and this year it isn't the case. It has given me a chance to see and enjoy from another familiar perspective. It's like it has always been before yet different. This will probably be the last year being within the nave of the church and it has been very spiritual for me.
Good Friday, busy day ahead for Mike and I. We both were honored to represent our community at an Ecumenical service. Mike was a reader early in the service and then we had seven individuals giving reflections on the seven last words of Christ. I was one of those and I really loved the experience. It was a very humbling and honorable experience for me. The Lord with the aide of my wife helped me prepare for this, and without the two of them His message wouldn't have gotten out there. I will share more about this in another posting.
Last night Mike and I were lectors again, and we both loved being a part of this liturgy.
What I have noticed this week was that so many people were involved during this week. From the choir, to the altar servers ( who were absolutely fantastic by the way ), to the readers, extra-ordinary ministers of communion, there were so many people involved and that is the way it really should be.
So today I will continue reading for my class, I will wait patiently for my wife to get home from work, and tonight Terry, my Mom, and my Dad, and I will celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior at Easter Vigil.
I Can't WAIT!
Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,