Ascension’s Prison Ministry began as an effort to fill a void in our community and fulfill a request from our parishioners. Ministry members participate in varied activities which serve the incarcerated, including collection and distribution of religious books and Bibles at local jails and prisons; communication via mail with prisoners; direct interaction with prisoners after certification by Chaplin; working with prisoners in a retreat experience (Kairos); and advocacy initiatives.
Prison Ministry meets the first Monday of every even month at 7:00pm in the Social Ministry office (use the Food Pantry entrance at the back of the church). Learn about upcoming events, advocacy issues, and more. To be included on the Prison Ministry email list, email Ann Beatty or call the Social Ministry office at 495-1886 x414. (2019 Meeting dates: April 1, June 3, August 5, October 7, December 2)
“A Catholic approach begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victim and offender.
As bishops, we believe that the current trend of more prisons and more executions, with too little education and drug treatment, does not truly reflect Christian values and will not really leave our communities safer. We are convinced that our tradition and our faith offer better alternatives that can hold offenders accountable and challenge them to change their lives; reach out to victims and reject vengeance; restore a sense of community and resist the violence that has engulfed so much of our culture.”
Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice
Issued by USCCB, November 15, 2000 Copyright © 2000
Bible & Book Drive – ongoing
Ascension’s Prison Ministry collects and distributes soft-covered religious books and Bibles for distribution through our local jail. All books must be in good or like-new condition to be considered. Donations can be placed in the food carts in the Commons or in our Social Ministry office. Email Ann Beatty for more information.
If you are interested in communicating in writing with a prisoner, please email Ann Beatty for more information.
In-person Visits – training required
If you envision "prison ministry" to include meeting and talking in person with our incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ, you can become certified to visit inmates in our local jail. Please read this information regarding the processes and rules for visiting the Virginia Beach City Jail. You may email Ann Beatty or the Virginia Beach City Jail Chaplain if you have additional questions.
Kairos Cookies – next collection March 9 & 10 before all Masses
The mission of the International Kairos Prison Ministry is "to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ" with the imprisoned. Homemade cookies, baked with love and prayer, are requested for retreat weekends as an outward sign of the love and grace God offers each one of us. Kairos cookie recipes and directions can be found here. Kairos cookies are not collected year-round; additional cookie collection dates will be announced.
Letter Writing & Advocacy
In addition to our vigilant prayers for those impacted by crime and incarceration, one fundamental way we can influence the lives of those in jail or prison is to be their voice and help them to be heard. Writing letters and emails to our local, state, and federal officials provides a direct line of communication with individuals who make policy decisions.
Contact information for Virginia Beach representatives (updated February 2019)