That They May Be One
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
September 5, 2007
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed
Florida Catholic Bishops’ Campaign against the Death Penalty

Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America. The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty. Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged. The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007. At the following two locations, books will be available for purchase and signing.

Diocese of St. Petersburg
September 15, 2007
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Bethany Center
18150 Bethany Center Drive
Lutz, Florida
Contact: Sabrina Burton (727) 344-1611

Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or
Diocese of Venice
Saturday, October 27, 2007
1:30-4:30 p.m.
St. Ann Hall, Bishop Nevins Academy
4380 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, Florida
Contact: Marina Kopko (941) 441-1112

Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or

Dale Recinella will be speaking on Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty from Up Close at the following forums (books will be available for purchase and signing):

National Council of Catholic Women - Annual Convention
Friday September 21, 2007
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. (followed by book signing)
Hyatt Regency Columbus
350 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio, USA 43215

Contact: Carla Perantoni Walsh, Program Director NCCW:
(703) 224-0990 x102 or
Statewide Florida Respect Life Conference
Saturday October 13, 2007
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Quorum Hotel
700 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, Fl 33609
Contact: Sabrina Burton (727) 344-1611

Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or

That They May Be One
By: Dale Recinella

St. Mary’s, Macclenny.
The Saturday vigil Mass usually hosts about fifty people. Most are older members of this small rural church three miles south of the Georgia border. My wife, Susan, leads the Communion song on her guitar as the graying members of the congregation each take their turn standing before Jesus and responding, “Amen.”

Baker County Jail, Macclenny.
It’s early Sunday morning. The Catholic female federal prisoners sit elbow to elbow around the small oval table in the visitor room. They rise early to make the weekly Communion service which is wedged between the staff shift change and the 9:00 am Protestant service. Susan and I stand, taking their hands in a circle of faith and reciting the Our Father. They are all in their late twenties to mid-thirties. One just received word her husband is dead. A sudden heart attack. She’s not sure who is caring for her young son. Another is hoping to enter rehab and then return to her children. She may have to do hard time instead. Punishment has trumped treatment. Still another is wobbling on crutches. One by one each woman steps forward before the most excellent presence of Jesus in the world, bows her head and says, “Amen.”

Florida State Prison, Starke.
The massive door to Q-Wing opens for me at 12:30 pm. This is the maximum-security wing where Frank Valdez was killed in 1999. The cell where I regularly gave him Communion is still sealed with police tape. For the past two hours, Catholic inmates at this prison have been greeting me at the door of their solitary cells. On each wing, an officer opens the food flap, the hole in the middle of the door through which the man is fed. I bring a different food. One by one each man kneels on the cement floor in his cell and bows his head before the physical presence of Jesus in the world saying, “Amen.”

Union Correctional Institution, Raiford.
This huge prison neighbors Florida State Prison. The Catholic Mass here starts at 1:30 pm. Thirty to forty men clad in prison blue pour into the small chapel as the church guitar choir revs up with a spirited rendition of Shine, Jesus, Shine! Fifty minutes later a reverent stream of blue wends its way to the altar rail. For the briefest moment each man ceases to be a criminal or an outcast. Standing before the Host poised in the grasp of Fr. Jose, each one is merely and completely a child of Abba. I listen as the river of blue pauses before the Lord of Hosts and, one voice at a time, speaks the word of faith: “Amen.”

Christ the King, Jacksonville.
At 5:15 pm the Teen Mass choir explodes in song, welcoming teens and parents from all over our diocese. Later, when the Communion hymn begins, the dozens of teens who have been standing around the altar through the Consecration file quietly down to the aisles. As the voices of the choir blend into the words of One Bread, One Body, I can hear the younger members of our church acceding to the central reality of our faith. One by one those who are the future of our church stand before Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine and put it on the line: “Amen.”

St. Mary’s, Macclenny.
The summer sun wanes as I return the Pyx to the tabernacle. It’s time to pause and reflect on the day’s pilgrimage of faces that is my church, the Body of Christ. Is it possible? Are we truly one bread, one body?

Genuflecting in the evening shadows, I hear my own voice. “Amen.”

First published: The Florida Catholic, August 23, 2001 © 2001 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

Your name and information will never be used or sha#3333FF with anyone. We promise!

Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach