May Newsletter 2016

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“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

In March we sent out 153 packages at an average cost of $22.00 per package.  The cost to us was approximately $3,366.00 to ship these books. With your prayers and financial help we hope to send more next month. Your help is very much appreciated.

Testimony

Dear St. Dismas Guild, Hi. I’ve been doing time for 21 years in this institution.  I’ve abused drugs and alcohol, and cigarettes and marijuana basically all my life before coming to prison. I quit street drugs in 1991.  After my last arrest, I quit alcohol and marijuana and a little later I quit tobacco. The Good Lord took it all away forever. Now I’m clean straight. I found my mother by a miracle in 2009 after 20 years of lost contact which led to a reuniting of my long-lost brother and sister all because I kept my faith in the Good Lord. It would not have been possible for this miracle of God, the Lord, as he continues to bless me all the way and He will do it for you too.  May God bless you and Keep the Faith. DM

That’s a long time in prison, DM, and as they say you are a work in progress. Healing is a process and it takes time to get over the things that have a stronghold on you. God’s ways are not our ways and our ways are not God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). We want to be instantly transformed, but God says, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 You, DM, have chosen to co-operate with God’s grace. Finding your family is a blessing. God is a God of miracles. Jesus says, “….Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me.”(Matthew 12:50)

Doing Time With Jesus

Dear St. Dismas Guild, I enjoy all that you have sent me. I enjoy reading Fr. Paulsen’s literature. Recently I was reading some spiritual material from another author and it was so hateful. I do not easily comprehend how someone can write about the love of Jesus and to love one another and in the next paragraph put down the doctrines of the Catholic Church. How is it that we are tolerable to other religions among other things? I was so turned off. I like the fact that I am told by scripture, “but I say to you, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” It doesn’t say to love your enemies only if they have the same God as you, or share your political affiliations. I will pray for that author.

I am asking if you could please send me two more books: The GOSPELS in Their Original Meaning by Deacon L. Michaels, and When I was in Prison, Hope for the Hopeless by Father Harold Paulsen. Please continue to pray for my family and me for my faith to remain strong and for my son and wife to break free from their heroin additions.  Sincerely,  GA

GA, we certainly will pray for your family and you. We already sent you the books you requested. Heroin is a stronghold that only God can break. I know someone who after 20 years of addiction, including heroin, after going through detoxification, was immersed in the word of God and had his mind transformed by it, was healed and went on to live a productive life. He had to get out of the environment.  “The One who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” Thank you for sharing

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Dear St. Dismas Guild, God’s Peace and Blessing to you through Mother Mary! My name is CH and I am currently incarcerated. I am writing to request a Catholic Study Bible and a Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would also like a matching set of images of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart, if possible. Last, I am looking for Catholic organizations that help those who struggle with homosexuality. I need mainly addresses, if possible, or for you to send my information to them for me.

I am 38 years old and have been in the gay “life” my whole life, but now I wish to live a chaste life for love of Jesus and Mary by being celibate. It has been really hard and I struggle daily with lust/masturbation and could use some help. I have a priest and a deacon who do their best but they just don’t understand and being in here I don’t get much support. Anything you can help with will be appreciated. Thank you in Jesus through Mary with St. Joseph.  CH

CH, The following is a quote from Pope Francis that Couragerc.org has on their website:

“I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.”

 – Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy

This website has a great deal of information and helps that you are requesting. I know many of the inmates do not have access to a computer but if you write to Courage International. Inc, 8 Leonard Street, Norwalk CT 06850 or call (203) 803-1564, they will send you all the material you need to help you. Please let us know if this is a help to you. We leave you with these two scriptures Luke 9:23…“Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps. …”and Philippians 4:8, “Finally, my brothers, your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise.”

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Dear St. Dismas Guild, A friend of mine gave me a few copies of your newsletter a couple of weeks ago. I was very moved by the testimonies of the prisoners who wrote in to you. As a result, I decided it is time to come home. I have been the prodigal son. I was lost. I drifted in and out of several pagan religions. But I always felt a pain inside of me. I sensed that something was missing. I was sexually abused as a child. I have been angry at God for allowing that to happen to me. I also lost my father when I was young, and I am estranged from my mother. She won’t speak of my family or me and won’t communicate with me. I am just starting back on the road back to my home, the Church. I need your help.

I am indigent, but could I please be put on your mailing list for your newsletter? I have a New American Bible that I have kept for years for some reason, so I don’t need a bible, I would, however, be very grateful if you would send me any soft cover literature you have, such as prayer cards, catalogs, how to say the Rosary, etc. I would also like to be enrolled in your Bread of Life Bible Study program. Also, as a victim of sexual abuse, I would like your pamphlet, Overcoming Sexual Abuse. I suffer from PTSD on account of my history of sexual and physical abuse. I am vulnerable and afraid right now, but I have hope now, thanks be to God! Please remember me in your prayers.  MT

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:8

“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31 MT, as you put your hope in the Lord and in His timing He will heal you. That healing may be emotional, physical, or spiritual. Keep your eyes on Him and learn everything you can about Jesus Christ by reading and meditating on the gospels. Find out how Jesus responded to people, how He talked to people, how He acted around people. When you get to know Jesus and follow in His footsteps you will find the desires of your heart. 

Family Ministry

During the month of May we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Where would we be if not for our moms?

I thank God for the family that I grew up in, especially my hard, working mom who was always there for me.  For a long time Mother’s Day was a difficult holiday for me.  I wanted to be a mom, but I was not blessed with children of my own.  I knew God had a plan for my life and it wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I figured it out.  As a woman, God wanted me to be a spiritual mother to those students and young adults he placed in my life.  It didn’t stop me from hoping for children of my own, but it helped me to see His plan for me.  God wanted me to pray for and with those who did not have a mom to pray with.  He wanted me to share with others that we all have a loving mother in heaven.  With the following words, Jesus’ mother becomes our mother too:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. “(John 19:26-27)

This is just one reason that the Catholic Church dedicates the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She is everyone’s mother.  We can look to her as a role model for our families.  We can reach out to her and ask for her intercession at any time.  St. John Paul II says it beautifully…“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.  From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone.  From Mary we learn to love Christ her son and the son of God.”

Maybe this month, consider praying the rosary as Pope Francis suggested.

Pro-Life

From Thanksgiving to Mother’s Day

As a crisis pregnancy advocate, I spoke with a young lady around Thanksgiving who came into our PRC (pregnancy resource center) thinking she had arrived at a Planned Parenthood clinic. She was with her young son and talking very quickly (suspiciously, I was thinking she must be on drugs.)  She told me she was almost four months pregnant and wanted an abortion.  I could tell she was trying to be honest with me so I asked her to, “tell me a little bit about yourself and why you are seeking an abortion?” She had recently been in jail over the summer, had been using meth for 10 years, was lapse on meeting with her parole officer and already had two children.

I proceeded to tell her that we did not perform abortions at our clinic and gave her all the brochures about abortion.  I told her I knew of a maternity home where she could live if she would seriously considering placing her baby for adoption.  At first, she wouldn’t even consider it.  I told her that unfortunately, I had chosen abortion when I was her age and did not realize the terrible consequence involved and how I was still negatively affected by that decision.  I told her that I did not want her to go through that and that I cared about her life as much as her unborn baby.  I told her that I know many women who regret their abortions and like me now spend time volunteering in clinics or praying outside of clinics, in order to help in any way possible, to prevent another abortion from occurring.

She met with the doctor and the medical assistants.  She spoke with another advocate, had an ultrasound, and with much prayer from our other advocates and volunteers she reconsidered and was willing to take a tour of the maternity home that day after her appointment.

Long story short, because she had not checked in with her parole officer and was still using drugs, she ended up back in jail…  The Good News Is, she has now completed her time in jail, is finishing up going through a rehab facility which is helping her get her life in order with classes and by living the example presented to her.  She is returning to her faith, has been drug-free for five months and with new encouragement from her parents has decided to parent her baby.  Thanks be to God the Holy Spirit sent her to our pro-life clinic and she and her new baby will be celebrating Life together just in time for Mother’s Day.

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13

“Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.” ~ Psalm 31:24

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mother’s, and most especially to our Blessed Mother Mary. She loves to see everyone come to her Son.

In Jesus’ love,

St. Dismas Staff

Posted in Newsletter List, Newsletters.