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Ideas for Prison Ministry Awareness

Ideas for Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Homilies – May 17, 2015

Epistle Reading: Acts of the Apostles 16:16-34

”Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But
about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to
them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and
immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened.”

Men and women in prison are bound up with much more than bars and restraints. Their lives have been shattered
and they have become bound up with their own sins and with their own thoughts. OCPM sends prayer books into
these precious souls. These prayer books cover all the daily prayers, including the midnight prayers. One Hierarch,
after visited the men in a maximum secure prison, commented that “some of their prayer lives put mine to shame!”
These men were praying all of the daily prayers in the OCPM Prayer Book.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
The ministry of OCPM reaches beyond the men and women in prison, touching even the lives of some of their
families. The people in prison tell their families about their new found Faith and the families begin exploring it for
themselves. Some OCPM books find their way right into the homes of the precious families. When one person
comes to the Orthodox Faith, all those who see him or her are also impacted by the Lord and His Church.

Gospel Reading: John 9:1-38

“At that time, as Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth.”

Many of the people in prison have been spiritually blind their whole lives. They are often school dropouts from
broken and dysfunctional families, whose lives have been ones of continual abuse. God has a heart for these
precious people in prison and He seems to reach out to them in amazing ways. The Theotokos and other Saints
have appeared to some of the toughest or the tough prisoners in order to soften their hearts and open their blind
eyes.

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We
must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I
am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

It is still day and we must work the works of the Lord on this earth. Christ came to bring the Light to these precious
souls living in darkness and He calls all of us to be a part of this work. “I was in prison and you visited me!” Not all of
us can go into a prison, but all of us can be involved with prison ministry. We can help send prayer and study books
to them; we can help send Holy Icons to them; we can help with the training of those who will go into the prisons or
those who will write people in prison. Our gifts today will make us a part of the wonderful ministry of OCPM. Night is
coming; let us work while we can!

“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

Can you imagine in your mind what this blind man must have felt when his eyes were opened? That same joy fills the
heart of every man and woman in prison who is baptized into the Holy Orthodox Faith or who returns to the Faith of
their youth. (Former altar boys have come back to the Church in prison! Their spiritual eyes are opened and their
lives are transformed. One man who was baptized in a maximum secure prison wept through his entire baptism.

Click to download PDF – Prison-Ministry-Awareness-Sunday-Homilies

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