Petersburg Parishes to host presentation about Kairos Prison Ministry

Staff report

WAPAKONETA — The Petersburg Parishes will host a presentation about the interdenominational Kairos Prison Ministry on Sunday, March 6, 2 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish Life Center, Wapakoneta.

Kairos of Ohio Volunteer Coordinator Russ Seel will speak, as will an ex-offender, who will provide testimony about the impact of the Kairos Prison Ministry program on her life. Attendees should use the church’s Blackhoof Street parking lot to access the Parish Life Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Kairos believes that true rehabilitation starts with the “heart.” With this in mind the ministry to incarcerated men and women begins with the Kairos weekend where volunteers model and communicate God’s unconditional love, grace and mercy. It is here that God begins changing hearts. A key outcome of the Kairos weekend is for participants to find hope and a new vision for their life through a relationship with God.

“In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, Jesus notes that our lives will be judged by the care we have shown to others, including the imprisoned. We’re pleased to bring this opportunity to learn about Kairos to our communities,” States Petersburg Parishes’ Social Justice Commission member Rachel Barber, said.

For more information, contact Barber at 419-738-4924.

The History of Kairos

The first three day “short course in Christianity” inside a prison was held at Union Correctional Institution at Raiford, Florida in the fall of 1976. It was called Cursillo in Prison. By 1978, six states were presenting a Cursillo short course in prisons. The national Cursillo office determined these Cursillo in Prison ministries should be supervised by a central authority and that their format be modified to more closely align with inmate needs. Cursillo asked the Florida group to design such a program. Nine volunteers, today affectionately referred to as the “nine old men,” redesigned the program and renamed it “Kairos,” which is Greek for Godʼs Special Time. The first” Kairos” weekend was presented in 1979. Following that first weekend, the Cursillo office directed other areas doing Cursillo in Prison to stop using the Cursillo name and join Kairos. This program is now called Kairos Inside. Since then the organization has expanded to include a program for the family members of the incarcerated, Kairos Outside, and incarcerated young persons, Kairos Torch.

Today, Kairos Inside, Kairos Outside and Kairos Torch are supported by a staff of nine and more than 36,000 volunteers. These volunteers serve in more than 400 institutions in 35 states and nine countries.

The Petersburg Parishes of Botkins Immaculate Conception, Fryburg St. John, Rhine St. Lawrence, and Wapakoneta St. Joseph are named for the now-vanished Petersburg settlement (between Wapakoneta and Botkins on Santa Fe-New Knoxville Road) from which the parishes emerged in the 19th century. They are served by Pastor Patrick Sloneker and Assistant Pastor Daniel Hunt.

Staff report