Here Are A Few Points in the History of the Establishment of Catholic Services at the Washtenaw County Jail (WCJ).
June 30, 2000, Fr. Jim, Pastor of St. Francis Parish asked Scott Wright the Director of the St. Francis Parish Social Ministry Office to begin a jail ministry at the WCJ.
December 2000 – Dec. 2001, Scott Wright Director of the St. Francis Social Ministry Office and volunteer catechist, Mr. Robert Roleke along with other Catholic volunteers participated in the Christian volunteers’ meetings & revivals at the jail.
January 2002, Bishop Carl Mengling, of the Diocese of Lansing, and Rev. Deacon Edwin Novak began to recognize the need for a “Resident Catholic Chaplain”.
January 11, 2002, the Thomas More Law Center (Ed White) assisted in the establishment of the Catholic Ministry at the Washtenaw County Jail.
February 21, 2002, a sacristy cabinet was purchased & an altar was built and St. Francis of Assisi Parish donated both to the jail.
February 23 – March 1, 2002, a press release about the Jail Ministry in The Catholic Times.
February 26, 2002, First Saturday service 18 inmates – 6 signed-up for confession.
March 22, 2002, Deacon Edwin presented the new ministry at the Vicariate meeting for Priests.
March 23, 2002, Palm Sunday (Saturday Jail Mass) The Bishop, The Most Reverend Carl F. Mengeling, Bishop of Lansing, celebrated the first Mass at the jail in the gym with 2 honor guards from the Knights of Columbus. Volunteer catechists, Mr. Robert Roleke, along with Mr. Scott Wright assisted in organizing this event.
July 16, 2002, Bishop Carl Mengling, of the Diocese of Lansing, named Fr. Antonio Elfeghali (Rev. Jean-Pierre Georges Elfeghali) as the “Sacramental Minister” at the Jail.
October 2002, The RCIA Group/Catechism Class with 18 inmates was started by volunteer catechist, Mr. Robert Roleke.
January 11, 2003, on the feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus, “The Church Welcomes in JAIL” celebrating the sacraments of initiation. These were the very first Sacraments of Initiation which were celebrated at the Washtenaw County JAIL, Ann Arbor, MI, at Mass with Father Jean-Pierre Georges Elfeghali (Father Antonio).
April 26, 2003, during the Easter season, again, “The Church Welcomes in JAIL” celebrating the sacraments of initiation.
December 17, 2005, the Sacrament of Confirmation celebrated by The Most Reverend Carl F. Mengeling, Bishop of Lansing for Jose Eduardo Juan Ramirez DOB:February 19, 1979. This was celebrated at Mass in the building across the parking lot.
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In 2014 this vibrant Catholic Ministry at the Washtenaw County Jail consists of:
- Every Saturday morning a Mass/Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion.
- Every Sunday evening a prayer service/Eucharistic Adoration.
- Every Wednesday evening a Bible/Catechism Inquiry Class/RCIA.
- Sacraments of Initiation (122 persons initiated 2003-2014.)
- Everyday one-to-one visits. (We serve both men & women.)
- Facilitate follow-up communications with inmates who have moved beyond Washtenaw County.
Our list of Parishes in Washtenaw County, which help make this regional ministry possible.
- Christ the King, Ann Arbor
- Immaculate Conception, Milan
- St. Andrew, Saline
- St. John the Baptist, Ypsilanti
- St. Joseph, Dexter
- St. Joseph, Ypsilanti
- St. Mary, Chelsea
- St. Mary, Manchester
- St. Mary Student Parish, Ann Arbor
- St. Patrick, Ann Arbor
- St. Thomas the Apostle