||Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and
Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed|
“The Death Penalty Up Close”
Two Presentations by Dale S. Recinella,
both including “The Week of an Execution”
Saturday October 7, 2006 2 – 4 p.m.
The book “The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty” will be available for purchase and signing at both events.
Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church
2490 N. Cramer St.(corner of Bradford and Cramer St.)
Sunday October 8, 2006 2 - 4 p.m.
St. Mary’s Visitation Catholic Church
1260 Church St.
Elm Grove, WI
For information, contact:
Ms. Kathy Smith
St. Mary’s Visitation Parish
Ph: (262) 782-9470
Presentation Flyer - pdf
Be an informed Voter in Wisconsin’s November referendum on the Death Penalty.
Not By Bread Alone
By: Dale Recinella
The sun and cows are still asleep.
But amidst acres of fog and farmland, Florida’s weekend rendition of Field of Dreams begins. Headlights appear to the east and to the west. They are coming.
They are from everywhere. Florida. America. Some are from Europe or Asia. One by one, the vehicles pull behind each other, dim to their parking lights and wait. The first ones arrive at about 4:30 am. If it’s a major holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, they start to come at 1:00 am. The wait is not short.
At 6:30 am, the gate is unlocked. The small processing center is opened. First come, first served. But this is not the entrance. This step is just to get a numbered pass. They must return at 8:30 am and present their pass at the prison across the street. Only then will they be admitted to the triangular room with numbered tables where men clad in orange will be escorted to their side. This is the visiting park for Florida’s death row.
For twenty years and more they have come. Children. Mothers. Fathers. Sisters and brothers. Some have driven all night. Some have come by bus or plane. In a real sense, these visitors are also the victims of crime. The prize for their hours of journey and waiting is simple enough: to sit for half a day with their son, their father, their brother—a loved-one who made a terrible mistake.
A wife who is fighting the world to stay faithful to her marriage vows, kisses her husband’s forehead. A fifteen year-old daughter holds her father’s hand. A mother or father places an arm around their son and shares God’s Word. Families struggling to deal with their worst nightmare meet here and find ways to support and sustain each other. For decades, this weekend tradition has been the most sacred event in the death row unit. No one has ever threatened to harm anyone here. No one would dare. This is holy ground.
Or at least it was. Tallahassee has proposed terminating such visits. Soon only brief discussions by telephone through a thick plate of glass would be allowed. (1) Today is my second day on death row since the men have started dealing with this news.
“Good morning, brother,” I greet one of my regular Communicants. “Would you like to receive Jesus today?”
His discomfort is clear. “I’m not sure,” he pauses. “Wouldn’t that be eating?”
Most of the men I’ve talked to on death row yesterday and today are not eating. “Why are you not eating?” I ask.
“Brother Dale, why eat? We live twenty-four hours a day in these small cages. Do you know how hard it is to stay sane and positive living in a cage? Do you know how important it is to have something positive to do or to think about?
Since last August, they have taken everything away: our knitting, our painting, our pens, our library books. Now, they are taking away our visits with our families. My mother is seventy years old. She travels a thousand miles to come here to visit. For what? To talk on a wire and look at me through a glass? Like a specimen in a zoo?” He shakes his head, “Why eat?”
“Then let us pray, ” begin. We read Psalm 91.
He whispers, “Amen.”
“It’s not just bread,” I assure him. “It’s not just eating.”
“Just bread wouldn’t be enough,” he sighs. “And I really need Jesus today.”
“Then let us begin, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
(1) Update: The churches, families and activists presented a united front and succeeded in preserving contact visits for death row. To this day many officers and staff comment to me on the positive impact that these visits have on the inmates and on the atmosphere in the building. Limited color items have also been returned to use on death row, allowing some drawing to resume.
First published: The Florida Catholic, April 13, 2000
© 2000 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