Serving prison time produces utter isolation, especially for inmates whose family members may be angry that their son – or brother or uncle – committed a crime to cause that separation.
Deacon Carlo Maniglia, who began prison ministry at Orleans Parish Prison just after his ordination last December, wondered how he might be able to bridge that gap in some small way.
The thought struck him: Why not bring Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards to the inmates that would allow them to communicate with their parents and give them a chance to express whatever they were feeling?
The results have been amazing, Deacon Maniglia said.
“It means a lot because some of us are indigent and don’t have the money to get the cards at the commissary,” one inmate at the Temporary Detention Center said. “You express gratitude and sorrow for leaving them in a situation that we left them in.”
Another prisoner said of his family: “They’re torn up more than I am. I told my dad I missed him, I loved him and I’ll be home soon.”
“It makes me feel good because it feels like we’ve done something that is important to them,” Deacon Maniglia said. “They can show a little love and appreciation to their parents. More than likely, some of the fathers will be shocked.
“All these men who are incarcerated here are sinners, just like we are. Their sins, however, were against the law. Ours may not be. They’re all children of God. To give them that little ray of hope can really touch their hearts, and that’s what this ministry is all about, bringing Christ to them and being Christ for them.”