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In March of 1998, Fr. Ron Cloutier called together the representatives of prison / jail ministries from each diocese in the state of Texas. The purpose of this group was to share details of how each diocese manages the many challenges of prison / jail ministry. It was good to share the stories, the concerns and future plans of each diocese regarding serving the incarcerated. It was decided to gather each year to fellowship and discuss the criminal justice system and explore the role of the church. One of the significant discoveries was that each diocese seemed to view the prison ministry in different ways. Not all of the dioceses’ had paid employees or adequate funding allocated to prison ministry. As a result of the annual TCCM meetings, the Texas Bishop’s began to take a different view. Full as well as part time positions were funded to manage diocesan prison ministries. Budgets grew and programs flourished. In 2006, TCCM hosted the first major conference for men and women who work or volunteer in diocesan prison / jail ministry. They descended on San Antonio to hear speakers from state government, directors from the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice and lay/clergy volunteers. Certainly, the organization has come a long way from the ten to twenty members a few years ago, to nearly two hundred who attended the 2006 conference.

For more information about TCCM please contact the Office of Correctional Ministries, 713-741-8732, or Deacon “Doots” DuFour, TCCM Chair person, 512-651-6108.

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