ROCKVILLE – Representing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson visited the Rockville Correctional Facility (RCF) Tuesday afternoon celebrating Christmas Mass with offenders from the facility’s Catholic Worship Group.
RCF has a religiously diverse offender population, a significant portion of which are part of the Catholic Worship Group. In addition to leading many services, facility Chaplains Jeff Deakins and Richard Johnson aided by Community Services Director Susie Martin coordinate the various services ensuring the religious needs of the offender population are being met. In many cases, these needs are met with the help of community volunteers.
Following Mass, the Archbishop held a question-and-answer session with the offenders and staff in attendance. An extremely enlightening dialogue ensued, providing attendees with answers to difficult questions and providing valuable insight from an offender’s point of view to Archbishop Thompson. When an offender asked why a man of his stature was taking the time to visit with them, Archbishop Thompson said: “Throughout the Archdiocese, I am responsible for shepherding the flock, and you are part of that flock.”
Archbishop Thompson has already visited most of Indiana’s prisons as part of his expressed intention to reach out to the incarcerated population, letting them know they are not beyond forgiveness. This is especially poignant when one considers most offenders will be re-entering our communities as the end of their sentence.
The Indiana Department of Correction relies on volunteers in a variety of roles from religion, substance abuse, parenting education, and many others. If you would like to volunteer, you can begin that journey by visiting https://www.in.gov/idoc/volunteer/.