Prison ministry takes multifaith worship to the max

Joe O’Brien at Hakea Prison in Canning Vale, Western Australia (The eRecord Jamie O’Brien)

Perth's Archdiocesan Catholic Prison Ministry, in conjunction with the state Department of Justice, has opened a new multifaith worship centre at Hakea Prison, Perth’s maximum security jail. Source: The eRecord.

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Officially opened at a ceremony on August 27, the worship centre was originally a chapel on the east wing of the Canning Vale prison.

Joe O’Brien, prison ministry coordinator and chaplain at Hakea, said the worship centre has been expanded to cater to inmates of non-Catholic beliefs

“Well, given that you look at the numbers we are getting out of non-Christians, we have to do something to make them feel included. It is making a dynamic interfaith environment,” Mr O’Brien said.

He said the multifaith centre was also a way of showing gratitude to other religious leaders who had been willing to support the ministry.

While the role of faith in each person is personal, Mr O’Brien believes faith and ministry are necessary in prison environments.

“What we find is that our role gives prisoners a chance to see there is a better way to live through faith,” he said.

“Many people here have mental health issues, and many people are trying to access faith, some have never been to a church service, but they kept coming back.

“My role is to help them reconnect with their faith. We have a few baptisms here and all of them are intentional. If you live your life, people see the light, and they want what you have, and that is what chaplaincy is all about.”


Hakea multifaith centre provides prison ministry to inmates of all beliefs (The eRecord)

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