Bringing Hope and Sacraments to prison during Holy Week

Bishop Dennis Sullivan switched seamlessly between English and Spanish during a special Holy Week Mass for inmates at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton on Wednesday April 13.

Light streamed into the spacious room, which was adorned with colorful flowers, as Bishop Sullivan spoke of the beauty and mystery of Holy Week. “This is a time to be charitable towards one another and remember that God is here to help us. Look inside yourself, seek out good people, and God will be there to help.”

He continued, “We are all sinners,” he said, “And I stand here as a shepherd”, motioning towards his staff. “I will pray for you. Please pray for me too.”

Heads bowed and several inmates wiped tears from their faces.

In addition to administering the Eucharist to over 100 inmates during the holiest week of the year, four inmates received the Sacrament of Confirmation – which, as Bishop Sullivan explained, “strengthens them with Christ and his presence”.

In addition to several deacons, Catholic Charities staff were also present: Executive Director Kevin Hickey, as well as Deacon Jim Hallman, Prison Ministry Coordinator, and Kisanna Owens, Prison Reentry Coordinator.

Mass ended with a round of applause for the newly-confirmed inmates, and all sang the joyful “City of God” hymn.