Detention (Jail) Ministry

Our mission, is to communicate the Good News of God’s unconditional love to those incarcerated. We affirm each person, not necessarily their behavior, and invite them to grow as sons and daughters of God. We recognize that we ourselves will be called to deeper conversion through our interactions with those in detention. We strive to do our work beginning at the institution and extending to the church outside. We recognize our responsibility to educate those who have not experienced the offender as a valuable individual. We see our mission not as an act of charity but as a living of the central mission of the Gospel.
Detention Ministry at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea involves offering spiritual and emotional assistance to the inmates (and their families) detained at the Monroe County Detention Center, located on Stock Island.  Although most of our volunteers visit the Detention Center on a very regular basis, that is not a requirement of becoming part of  this valuable ministry. Currently, ministers visit the women twice each week: once on Tuesday afternoons and then once again on Friday afternoons. Our ministry with the men takes place on Thursday evenings.
Some of the many ways in which volunteers are involved in Detention Ministry here at the Basilica include: facilitating Mass and Communion services for visiting clergy; conducting Bible studies and/or weekly faith sharing sessions; sacramental preparedness classes, participation in our annual Christmas caroling and gift distribution program, praying for the prisoners, victims, volunteers and their ministry; assisting offenders in their transition to the community; assisting families of victims in our parish and reaching out to inmate’s families through prayer and material support.
Prior to providing any direct services at the Detention Center, volunteers are invited to attend a one day ministerial formation session (sponsored by the Archdiocese of Miami) and a one day training session required by the Detention Center. A background check and fingerprinting must also be completed before volunteers can provide direct services at the Detention Center. Please also know that volunteers are never required to provide direct services at the Detention Center without a ministry co-coordinator accompanying them on their visit.
If  you are interested in joining the Women’s Ministry, or in obtaining more information  on how you can help, please contact:
Brenda Callahan through the Rectory Office at (305) 294 1018  or email her directly at
If  you are interested in joining the Men’s Ministry, or in obtaining more information on how you can help, please contact:
Deacon Terry Martin at (512) 656 2622 or email him at
Ongoing Volunteer Application FormMCDC 2015 Volunteer Application September 2013
One Time Special Clearance Volunteer FormMCDC 2015 Special Clearance Form