Denver Newsroom, Dec 14, 2020 / 16:41 pm
As the pandemic has severely restricted gatherings and volunteer opportunities, Catholic dioceses throughout the United States and Canada have had to rethink prison ministries.
Catholic Church officials said the pandemic restrictions have barred volunteers from accessing prisons or introduced heavy limitations that have altered religious and non-profit services.
The safety measures have halted volunteer access and often suspended or minimized access to the outside programs. It is an isolating experience, said Joe Cotton, director of Pastoral Care & Outreach for the Archdiocese of Seattle.
"I think jail and prison life is hard enough as it is when everything is normal and functioning normally. To have reduced programming, increased restrictions, reduced access to people that are a positive healing presence in your life, … I think it's rough. I think it increases loneliness, it increases anxiety. I think the programs that we run provide a nice reprieve, " he told CNA.