June 12 designated Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday

NEW YORK, NY [Assembly of Bishops] – June 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016 has been designated “Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday” by theAssembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

The day will highlight the work of theOrthodox Christian Prison Ministry [OCPM], an Assembly agency.

In a letter signed by His Eminence, Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America, the Assembly’s Liaison to OCPM, and Archpriest Stephen Powley, OCPM Executive Director, parishes of all jurisdictions are asked to reflect on the words of Saint John of Kronstadt—“Never confuse the person, formed in the image of God, with the evil that is in him: because evil is but a chance misfortune, an illness, a devilish reverie.  But the very essence of the person is the image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement”—on that day.

“No matter how far someone has fallen, the image of God remains in them,” the letter reads.  “We should see people not as they are, but as they could become through the Holy Orthodox Faith.  The Church, through OCPM, offers those in prisons and jails across our country the Life that gives meaning to all life and that Life is able to bring healing to a broken humanity.

“By assisting Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, each of us is able to visit Jesus in prison,” the letter continues.  “Please remember ‘these the least of my brethren’ by assisting OCPM with this vital ministry.  We ask you to please pass a second offering tray on Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday, June 12.”

OCPM also maintains a presence on Facebook.  Contributions may be sent to OCPM, PO Box 1597, New York, NY 10025.