In one of the many counties of the parish we have a new jail, partially pictured above.
I was able to arrange a face to face with a prisoner. There are a number of Catholics on the inside. If not face to face, a huge exception to the rule – conversations are all recorded by way of video conferencing from the entrance way. But it’s all recorded anyway even when brought inside for face to face in an interrogation room! If Pope Francis only knew that his Missionary of Mercy is talking to people in actual interrogation rooms! Anyway, face to face is a real help.
My foray into face to face took yet another full law enforcement check on yours truly by the Sheriff, as the DOC is under him and they have to defer to him for such an exception. I think I’m the most checked priest ever.
I must say, everyone at the DOC and the adjunct Sheriff’s Office was entirely and totally kind and helpful to yours truly and I thank them for that.
Perhaps that check was easier and faster than normal since my last massive and entirely absolutely thorough check was spearheaded by the FBI quite recently. I had brought something to the Agency – which preliminaries took some months with various top-level agents – until they then decided to bring the case forward. What that means is that after such preliminaries, and then before they start in on whatever case which looks to have some merit, they do a massive, thorough check on the one bringing the case, you know, because, after all, he could be the guilty party trying to frame someone else, right? So that itself took a number of months. I was told that centers all over the country were involved with the investigation, each specializing in different areas of the law using different methods of investigation. Finally, I was told that I sailed through. So, after even more preliminary questions, they started the case. All I can say is that they are following the case rather closely. :-)
Anyway, the diocese then faxed the DOC a letter of good standing for me to be a volunteer.