Intentional Advent - Visiting the Imprisoned

As part of our Advent this year we decided to make a concerted effort to live out each of the corporal works of mercy in some fashion.  Today we got to visit the imprisoned.  We're blessed in that my stepfather volunteers twice a year to work a Kairos retreat for any willing men in a local high security prison.  Through that program we were able to decorate placemats for the inmates who were opening up their hearts to the Lord this weekend and then today sing at the fence with them.  

Word is that the inmates save their placemats and hang them in their cells.  Often these men have no real support in changing their lives and certainly no one showing them love.  Kairos changes that.  The placemats are a concrete reminder to them that the Lord loves them and that many people are praying for them.

I was really impressed with how hard the boys worked on their placemats.  We made a whole stack of very detailed drawings complete with jet planes and crucifixes and trains and creche scenes.

Aircraft, however, were by far the favorite.  I hope the inmates get a kick out of my boys' work.

You do know that Jesus ascended to heaven via rainbow puzzled helicopter, right?  It's in the catechism somewhere.

This afternoon we were then able to go to the prison where we were led around to the fence outside the recreation area.  There we surprised the men making the retreat and then sang hymns and carols back and forth.  I can't even tell you how moving it is.  I can barely sing because I'm getting all ferklempt the whole time.  We wave to them and then each of their names is read individually as those of us outside the fence yell "we're praying for you!"  Super powerful...for us and them.

I did have some pictures to share but I was told that I wasn't supposed to have the camera or be taking pictures (!) and that sharing them could disrupt the whole Kairos program.  Sooooo...I won't be sharing them.  And no, I never took any pictures.  And what are you even talking about anyway??  Ahem...leave it to the tiny Catholic homeschool mom to bring in the contraband.   

It really made an impression on the boys and on the way home they were wondering whether there had been any robbers among the men.  John Paul declared that there may have been but it was pretty awesome that Jesus had forgiven them so they weren't going to be robbers anymore.  And they could become sons of God.  Yep, that was neat.  And then the boys all prayed for the men during our prayers this evening.  So very glad and thankful we got to do this.


  1. You described it all so beautifully, Mary. It is such a moving experience and it means so very much to the inmates. I can't get thru the singing either because I'm so choked up. It's a very powerful experience. The boys did a great job on the placemats. I know they are cherished by the men who received them. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Mary! What a beautiful experience, one I'm sure that will be on the boys' hearts always.


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