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This Prison Ministry is very dear to our St. George community and this opportunity is priceless. Christ has said, “… I was in prison and you came to Me.”
Our community support of the Angel Tree program is part of Prison Fellowship Canada (PFC).
PFC’s Angel Tree Christmas program connects church communities and individuals with the families of prisoners through the delivery of a Christmas gift on behalf of the incarcerated parent. Through this program, children not only receive a gift under the tree at Christmas but maintain connections and bonds with their incarcerated parent.
For approximately 20 years, our community has purchased/delivered gifts each year to approximately 60 children whose parent is imprisoned. Children have the excitement of receiving a gift, but more importantly it tells them that mom or dad is thinking about them at Christmas time. For prisoners, our support helps them experience the love of God during a time marked by guilt and loneliness. By strengthening their family ties, it also reduces their probability of re-offending when released. Angels are normally available for distribution by the 3rd Sunday of November to ensure that the gifts are delivered to the children in time for Christmas.
Joanie Younes has spearheaded the Angel Tree program through the Sunday School,
Diane Younes has been actively involved in the prison ministry.
<Who is heading this ministry at St. George.
What is the role of Joanie Younes and Diane Younes.
Are there others with roles in this ministry.
How does one get involved in this Ministry and who to contact to start off the process of getting involved.>
Prison Visit Report 2022
Our Easter visits take place on Good Friday. This year, Good Friday was on April 15, 2022. Please note that the visits to Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) are made on the “(Roman) Catholic” Good Friday. This is because we are part of the Prison Fellowship Canada (PFC).
Typically, we arrive at the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) at 9am to be registered and prepare for the visit. The Chaplain normally talks to our group, says a quick prayer, and we divide ourselves into 3 – 4 groups and start our day. We start distributing our packages right after breakfast and we are finished within one to 1 ½ hours.
Since the numbers of inmates has been 800 – 900 in the past (this year the number was 1100), we were allowed 9 people to participate, and we broke into 3 – 4 groups. The Chaplain lead one group and prison guards (or other Chaplains) lead the other groups to the various ranges. Once we arrive at each range, we greet the men, say a quick prayer with them and quickly distributed a gift to each.
We prepare an Easter gift package for every inmate (and guards on duty) consisting of:
All these items are in a clear gift bag. Please see attached picture.
We are truly gratefully to be blessed with this opportunity to visit Toronto South year after year being allowed to continue this ministry. It is nothing short of a miracle that we are blessed to enter into a maximum security institution….it’s through the prayers of our patron St. George!
Below is the message in the Church bulletin thanking them for their support for the 2022 prison visit:
“And when I was in jail you visited me” – Matthew 25
By the Grace of God, and through the prayers of St. George, the doors of a maximum-security prison were opened to our church. On April 15, 2022, 9 volunteers from our parish were allowed to visit and distribute Easter gifts to the 1100 inmates at the Toronto South Detention Center. Thanks to your love and generosity, we were able to gift the inmates an icon of Christ, a Chocolate Easter bunny, a pad of paper, a pencil, and the Easter sermon of St. John Chrysostom. Although the inmates were overjoyed to receive these Easter gifts, in truth, the volunteers were the ones that were blessed by them. While we were unable to visit prison for the last two years due to the pandemic, we have been involved in this blessed prison ministry for the past 17 years. It is nothing short of a miracle that we have been allowed entry into a maximum-security prison; it is only through the intercessions of our patron St. George, “the Deliverer of Captives” that these doors were opened.
Thank you again for your prayers, generosity, and support.