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179452013 Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Encyclical

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    May 22, 2013
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      2013 Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday
      May 22nd, 2013

      *2013 Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Encyclical*

      *June 9, 2013*

      */Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me...only
      Luke is with me. /2 Timothy 4:9-11*

      To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Laity of the
      Orthodox Churches in North and Central America:

      Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Christ is Risen!

      We greet you in the surpassing joy of the Risen Christ. By the grace of
      God, we are blessed to observe the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, which this
      year falls on June 9, as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday. We embrace
      the /diakonia /of prison ministry in keeping with the example of our
      Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician of our souls, who /did not
      come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance/; who ate in the
      houses of thieves and forgave the sins of harlots; and who said that,
      when we visit those in prison, we are in truth visiting Him, the Lord of

      Rejection and isolation are experiences that are common to nearly
      everyone who is in prison. Even the Holy Apostle Paul was forsaken by
      his fellow ministers of the Gospel when he was imprisoned in Rome. The
      Lord has called us to take the part, not of Demas, but of the Beloved
      Physician Luke, and to stand by our brothers and sisters who are in
      prison, ensuring by our presence with them that they remain connected to
      the community of the Church.

      We call on all Orthodox Christians--both clergy and laity-- to emulate
      the faithfulness of the Apostle Luke by participating in the Church's
      ministry to those who are in prison, and by offering support and
      encouragement to all those who bring the Gospel of hope and salvation to
      the incarcerated.

      Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) is the official prison
      ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCPM provides
      books, bibles, icons and bible studies to people who are in prison, /all
      free of charge/. OCPM also provides support and training for Orthodox
      throughout the country who are participating in ministry to people who
      are in prison. On this Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday, we humbly ask
      each parish to take up a special collection for OCPM. We also ask all
      the faithful to pray fervently for all those who are visiting Christ in
      prison. With prayers and love in the Risen Christ,

      +Bishop Mark of Baltimore, the Orthodox Church in America; /Liaison to
      OCPM for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central

      Patrick Tutella, Chaplain, /Executive Director, OCPM/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]