Catholic Criminal Justice Ministries Network
In 2007 the Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI) began to bring together the individuals responsible for Prison Ministry in the six diocese of Illinois, namely, Diocese of Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Joliet, Springfield and Belleville. This discussion led to the formation in 2008 of the Illinois Catholic Criminal Justice Network which embraces all Church members and agencies whose ministries are related to all aspects of incarceration and returning citizens back into the community.
The purposes of the Illinois Catholic Criminal Justice Network are as follows:
- To link its members together for the sharing of information and resources.
- To coordinate the delivery of Catholic Pastoral Care and services to prisoners and all those affected by the criminal justice system.
- To foster the recruitment and preparation of volunteer ministers in all areas of criminal justice.
- To speak with a unified Catholic voice to departments of correction on their policies and procedures that impacts the performance of these ministries.
- To advise the bishops and their dioceses, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, government officials and the public at large, on important issues of criminal justice.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois coordinates the Illinois Catholic Criminal Justice Network, which is made up of clergy and laity from each diocese who minister to prisoners and inmates of state, federal and local institutions. The Network is organized as a practical response to Church teachings and the call of our bishops. Each of the six Dioceses has Coordinator of Prison Ministry appointed by their respective Bishop.
The six Diocesan Coordinators include the following:
- Rev. Arturo Perez Rodriguez – Diocese of Chicago
- Mrs. Jana Minor – Diocese of Joliet
- Deacon Joe Lahood – Diocese of Peoria
- Rev. Howard Barch – Diocese of Rockford
- Rev. Dan Willenborg – Diocese of Springfield – in- Illinois
“I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7)