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Our response to crime in the United States is a moral test for our nation and a challenge for our Church.  Our tasks are to restore a sense of civility and responsibility to everyday life, and promote crime prevention and genuine rehabilitation. The common good is undermined by criminal behavior that threatens the lives and dignity of others and by policies that seem to give up on those who have broken the law.

MAX is the diocesan program to provide pastoral care, education, public policy advocacy and prayer support in service of the incarcerated and their families.  

MAX Prison and Jail Ministry in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph seeks to ensure a pastoral and sacramental presence within Missouri correctional facilities and to provide continued support to offenders re-entering society. 

​There are seven state prisons and over 20 jails throughout our diocese.  Volunteers minister to these women and men by providing spiritual counseling, sacramental services, Bible study, devotions and evening prayers.   The Life & Justice Office supports this volunteer-based ministry by ensuring resources are available to meet the spiritual needs of those who are incarcerated and their families.   

  • Recruitment, training and support for prison and jail ministers and volunteers.

  • Catholic Bibles and prayer books, in both English and Spanish, rosaries, and many other materials for women and men who are incarcerated.   

  • Education for parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations on Church teaching in the areas of prison and jail ministry.

  • Network with other local and national organizations, including REC and Kairos, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Knights of Columbus, Journey to New Life, Catholic Charities of Kansas City, Archdiocese of Kansas City Kansas, and Family United Transportation Service.

​The links below will orient you to prison ministry in our diocese and provide formation as you seek guidance in answering your call to serve.

The Life & Justice Office invites you to respond to the Gospel call to, “Love one another as I have loved you  (John 13:34)". 

Volunteer Opportunities​

Volunteer in Corrections (VIC)
​Volunteers, both lay and clerical, visit area jails and prisons on a regular basis to provide the sacraments and a listening ear to our incarcerated brothers and sisters.  Please click here to learn the qualities of a good VIC.

Ministering to the incarcerated and their families can sometimes feel like visiting a foreign culture. Whether you are new to prison ministry, or you're a veteran looking for new perspectives, explore the resources on this webpage to help you understand the complexities of incarceration - and how it intersects with justice, family relationships, employment and more.

Contact us or click here to learn more about the steps to become a VIC with the Missouri Department of Corrections. 

​Family Court volunteers provide incredible value for youths by building up social skills, life skills, and setting a foundation of positive interaction. If interested in volunteering or mentoring with youth in the Juvenile system, click here to visit the Family Justice Center website.


Residents Encounter Christ (REC)

​Residents Encounter Christ is a non-profit organization which conducts 3-day retreats for men and women living in prison. The retreats are designed to give residents a chance to learn about Christ and how He can change lives. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring Christ into prison. Contact us to learn more.

Pen Pal Program​

​Provide much-needed encouragement and friendship to an isolated prisoner. Participate in our program or establish your own parish pen-pal ministry using the guide provided by the Diocese. This simple guide lays out the basic steps, offers practical suggestions on how to get started, and provides other tips for fostering a safe, appropriate relationship based on encouragement and discipleship. Click here for a Pen Pal Volunteer Application.  To learn more about this ministry, click here.

Volunteer in Prayer (VIP)

​VIPs lift up this ministry with powerful prayer support wherever they are. A volunteer leader for the Life & Justice Office regularly shares prayer requests we receive from our Volunteers in Correction (VICs)  who represent the incarcerated members of our diocese. The VIPs may be individuals lifting prayer requests to the Lord on their own, or may be organized into groups by parish. Please click here to review one of the weekly prayer request emails. All commit to praying intentionally for this ministry once per week.   Click here to sign up to be a Volunteer in Prayer.​

Rosary Program

​Volunteers assist the Life & Justice Office with the processing, packing and mailing of rosary orders from offenders residing in Missouri Prisons.  Please review and print a copy of "The Prisoner's Rosary".

Parish Presentation on MAX Prison and Jail Ministry

Help share the message about the MAX Prison and Jail Ministry.

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