the impact in juvenile hall
"I thank Father Mike to start off because he made me see that even though someone gets a life sentence, you can still proceed your life in a positive way. He and the Catholic volunteers help me see that even though I'm locked up, I can still be happy about being alive and healthy. When I see them each Wednesday and at Mass on Sundays, I feel good knowing that I have people who care about me and people who know about me and people who hope the best for me. Hopefully when I get out I’ll still have people who support me the same way as I have here in juvenile hall. I’ve learned how to control my emotions because of the love and respect the Catholic volunteers show me. The music they sing has words that make you feel real inside. Then when you’re feeling down, they also give us quotes from the bible that make sense, so we can understand that God does know what we are going through. When we are done, my day feels joyful and I feel like a new person."
"I’ve been detained for two months now, which is nothing compared to some people that have been down 20, 30 and even 40 or more years. But what I can say is that the meditation with Catholic volunteers has helped me plenty: mentally and emotionally. I am currently fighting a large sentence and numerous charges. At first I was stressing a lot thinking, “Damn, is this what my life has come to be?” I had no hope at first. I needed a sanctuary, I needed a place to feel safe because I couldn’t come to peace with myself that I am going to be living in a cell for a very long time. Going to meditation is my sanctuary, every Wednesday I go and talk about my good times and bad during the week. We worship the Lord and pray for each other while asking for forgiveness and mercy. Once I started going to meditation and Sunday services every week, I finally came to peace with myself that the Lord has a plan for me and he is going to guide my way behind bars so that one day I’ll finally be able to hold my mother, girlfriend, and my child in my future, and live happily with them."
the impact in prisons
"I remember our last retreat… I remember how we were treated by the volunteers. We were treated like human beings, not criminals. I remember feeling God’s love through them. I remember one of my friends joining the retreat for the first time. I remember him telling me that he was really moved by the experience. I remember thinking that he felt it too. I remember Jesus saying “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” God was there in that dinning hall… God was with us in prison… We celebrated him and he visited us."
"I’ve struggled with emotional pain for over 40 years, and I can honestly share my thoughts and feelings today only because I’ve experienced a level of healing so deep, that the pain of the past doesn’t have it’s painful grip on me any longer. I achieved this healing through the meditations of Father Mike’s retreats.