Inmates arrive for Mass at Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem Oct. 18. Archbishop Alexander Sample visited many inmates in the past year. (Courtesy Archdiocese of Portland Office of Prison Ministry)
Inmates arrive for Mass at Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem Oct. 18. Archbishop Alexander Sample visited many inmates in the past year. (Courtesy Archdiocese of Portland Office of Prison Ministry)
In the past year, Archbishop Alexander Sample has visited six of the eight Oregon Department of Corrections facilities in Western Oregon, reports the Archdiocese of Portland Office of Prison Ministry.

“He witnesses to the truth that ‘with the poor the church discovers the best in itself’ and that we learn this when we spend time with incarcerated men and women,” said a note to supporters from Linda Showman, who coordinates the office.

Archbishop Sample started in prison ministry as a young priest, and the experience draws him to return.

“These men and women, though away and out of sight, can hear him say that they are remembered and remain part of our community,” said Showman. “They can hear him say, ‘God loves you the same as he loves me — no difference.’”

Showman said the visits are possible because of communities inside the prisons and relationships sustained by Catholic volunteers who minister regularly.

“Both lay and clergy come to the prisons as a team, supporting one another in performing this corporal work of mercy,” Showman said. “They listen to the stories of those who are incarcerated, teach about the faith, celebrate Mass and Communion services, study the Bible. But most importantly, they are there. Prison ministry requires no special skill other than a listening, compassionate heart.”

Learn more

prisonministry@archdpdx.org

503-233-8364