Dust To Dust
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
February 6, 2008
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
Upcoming Events:

Scripture, Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty
Dale S. Recinella
Monday February 18th
7:30 pm - TEXAS
St. Gabriel the Archangel
110 St. Gabriel Way
McKinney, TX 75071
For information, contact: Kay Leonard ph. (214) 544-1669 or email: MarianKL@aol.com

Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American 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 presentation is a condensed version of the program approved by the Bishops of Florida and offered during 2007 in every diocese in Florida to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty.
Dale’s book, The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty, will be available for purchase and signing.
Monday March 31st - FLORIDA
7 – 8:30 pm in the Parish Hall
Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
8523 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221
For information, contact Ms.Peg Baker ph. (904) 477-7252 or email: jmbake56@bellsouth.net

Dust To Dust
By: Dale Recinella

It’s not even spring but the mercury is pushing eighty at high noon.

“Already sweating and it’s only Ash Wednesday,” I sigh, making my way into the prison guard stations and entry gates. “What’s in the plastic bottle?” “Ashes,”I respond nonchalantly, as though I’m back in the Italian Catholic neighborhood of my youth. “Ashes for Ash Wednesday.” “Say what?” “Ashes,” I repeat, pointing to the telltale outward sign on my own forehead. “It’s a Catholic thing, sir. The ashes are on the gate pass.” Soon I’m back at the chapel. The chaplain hands me the list of Catholics in the prison. “There’s over a hundred of them. Good luck.” Twenty years ago many of the men in this prison were in general population. That meant Catholics could come to the chapel and receive ashes just like in a church. Those days are gone. This prison is now all solitary confinement. The almost 1200 cells are all lockdown. There will be no ashes unless the ashes come to them. Solitary confinement has it’s own rules. The ashes must be administered through the “food flap,” the narrow opening in each man’s door through which food, toilet paper, clothes, laundry, mops, toilet brushes and everything else pass between the world inside that cell and the world outside. Only an officer on the wing can unlock the food flap. And he must stand right there until it’s relocked. With twelve prison wings I will need help from at least a dozen different officers. Those poor guys are going to be overjoyed to see me. The hall sergeant turns the outside lock in the thick metal door of the first wing, banging his key against its huge brass handle. The clanging reverberates up and down the wing stairwells announcing to the officers inside that someone is “on the door.” That door won’t open until an officer inside keys the companion lock. The door opens. I enter, identify myself and announce my purpose. The blank expressions around me are not unfriendly or uncooperative. They are just blank. In few words, I summarize the purpose of the ashes and the method of application. The officers nod. One is assigned to escort me through that wing. As we climb to the third floor atrium, he pauses, “No offense, sir, but just what are those the ashes of?” He’s trying to be very respectful. I can only imagine what he’s been told in this part of the country about us Catholics. He seems visibly relieved at hearing about the palm branches. Cell by cell, floor by floor, wing after wing, officer after officer, the food flap is opened. I kneel on the concrete floor before each cell and reach through the opening, taking the hand on the other side. “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit….” Brother after brother bows his head and receives that mark which is so uniquely Catholic, ”Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.” The interruptions of the daily routines are inevitable. The nurse must distribute meds. Food carts arrive with dinner. Laundry must be collected. The officers patiently juggle priorities while trying to accommodate my mission. Finally it’s the last wing. Almost five hours have passed. There are thirteen more men to go. My escort officer listens quietly as I kneel and pray, ”Lord, do not face us suddenly with death, but give us time to repent.” “Sounds like a good prayer for all of us,” he sighs, locking the flap. “All of us who are dust, “ I smile. “Have you met anyone that isn’t?”

First published: The Florida Catholic, March 8, 2001 © 2001 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic This article appeared in the I Was in Prison Ezine on February 21, 2006. 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.

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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 Amazon.com)

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