(Boston Globe) Behind bars, a cardinal’s quiet prison ministry

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley was just out of seminary when his friary sent him to serve as chaplain at the Butler, Pa., county prison. His first task was to preach to the inmates, but he had never given a sermon before, much less to such a tough crowd. He consulted his preaching textbook, which advised: “Speak into the horizons of your congregation.’’

Inspired, O’Malley gave a lively account of the Bible’s great escape stories: Daniel and the lion’s den, St. Paul escaping over the walls of Damascus in a basket, St. Peter in chains. The inmates listened, rapt.

“The problem was, that night, several prisoners escaped from the prison,’’ O’Malley said with a laugh during a recent interview. “And I was afraid my first sermon was going to be my last. The superior was very unhappy.’’

O’Malley went on to become a well-regarded homilist; in a quieter way, he has also continued ministering to prisoners....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPrison/Prison Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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