15 confirmed or baptized during holy season

By Frank Ruffino, Community Relations Manager (A)

Easter at R.J. Donovan State Prison was a special celebration, as 15 inmates professed their new commitments to faith through confirmations or baptisms, while nearly 200 inmates and visitors participated in Catholic Mass or services of other denominations.

Bishop Robert Brom and the Rev. Romeo Supnet of the San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese concelebrated one Mass in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Meanwhile, the Rev. Garland Hunt, national president of Prison Fellowship, and regional executive Clef Irby, led interfaith services with selected inmates who shared inspirational testimonials.

The bishop makes the holiest day of the liturgical year that much more special, reaffirming that they have not been forgotten.  He hears confessions before Mass for as long as someone is in line.  The Mass is fully planned by the inmates, and the chapel was packed with inmates and volunteers who witnessed the confirmation of six inmates by the bishop.

“Christ was definitely in the chapel of Donovan State Prison on Easter morning,” said an inmates who witnessed the event.

“Who is the Church?” “We are the church!” were the call and response at RJD’s Facilities B and C from more than 160 inmates and 31 visitors and volunteers of many faiths.  In addition, the musical group Soul Vox brought live gospel music.  A highlight of the service was the baptism of nine inmates who stepped forward to profess their newly found faith.

“In the 12 years I’ve been incarcerated, I have not seen a day such as this one,” said one inmate. “It has not made my day.  It has made the entire time I’ve been locked down.”

The number of inmates turning to faith is increasing, according to Warden Daniel Paramo.  “We do our best to help and support the prisoners in their decision to reconcile with others, society and ultimately with God.”
More information about RJD programs or religious services is available at (619) 661-8654.