Louisiana inmates lead Catholic ministries for incarcerated, visitors
May 10th, 2016
By Catholic News Service
ANGOLA, Louisiana – Because he’s incarcerated, Ricky Krummel feels he has a glaring “X” on his back.
Such a perception not only dehumanizes people who are imprisoned in the eyes of those outside of prison walls, he said, but it also subjects him to endless taunts on the inside, he said.
To his credit, Krummel, has found support and acceptance among a group of fellow Catholic inmates who dedicate themselves to spreading Jesus’ message of love, mercy and redemption in a very difficult place: the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
“You’ve inspired me; you’ve walked with me; you’re my family; you’re my brothers,” said Krummel, publicly thanking six Angola inmates who received their certificates in pastoral studies April 29 through an extension program offered by the Loyola Institute for Ministry.
“We Catholics make an impact,” Krummel added. “It takes a lot to humble yourself before God and man and do what y’all have done. I love y’all and I’m proud of y’all. We can’t change what we did, but we can change how we go forward.”
The six graduates, who completed 36 hours of graduate-level classes, were honored at a special Mass and commencement ceremony at Angola’s inmate-built and furnished Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. They are John Balfa, Milburn Bates, William Kirkpatrick, Felton Ledet, Herman Tureaud and Lester Williams.
“It was a lot of reading, a lot of study, but we all grew, and our concept of community grew,” said Balfa, an inmate for 32 years. He explained that he and his fellow graduates are peer ministers within Angola. They also conduct retreats for people from the outside, including visiting groups of high schoolers preparing for confirmation and their parents.
From May 12, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.