Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Archbishop and his flock, inside a state run correctional facility

Wednesday evening, after an already long day of meetings and liturgies, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond capped off his day inside a state run prison.  The Archbishop arrived at Rayburn to meet the men of the Catholic Community, hear confessions and celebrate Mass for the 70 men gathered in the chapel.

Archbishop Aymond is a staunch supporter of our prison ministry across the Archdiocese and has made the trip to Rayburn several times to show his affection and support for the men.  Rayburn is no easy drive.  Located in Angie, La, it is the northernmost community of the entire Archdiocese, located some 15 miles north of Bogalusa and just 1 mile south of the Mississippi state line.

After a personal greeting from the Warden, the Archbishop, accompanied by yours truly, Father Daniel Brouillette and several of our volunteers made the long walk from the control room to the chapel.  Always generous with his time, the Archbishop greeted everyone warmly, took the time to hear confessions, then offered a Mass for the promotion for harmony and peace.  His homily focused on forgiveness and mercy as the Archbishop referenced the Jubilee Year of Mercy in offering a message of hope and joy!

The Archbishop personally gave Communion to all who came forward and then at the end of Mass thanked the men for coming and being with him for the evening.  And then before heading back home, Archbishop Aymond stood at the exit of that chapel to make sure every man received a personal handshake and a word, even blessing several religious articles some of the men had received ahead of his visit.

Archbishop Aymond also made sure that he shook the hand or offered a greeting to every staff member of the facility he met, including all the guards on duty for the event.

I am always lifted spiritually by every visit I make to Rayburn Correctional because we offer worship to God and journey together with each man on the way to our salvation!  To have this ministry affirmed by the visit of the Archbishop is so important, not only for all the men gathered in that chapel but also for all the volunteers.

Thank you Archbishop Aymond for your visit, and for your prayers and support!

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