When Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, he gave his followers an assignment: “Unbind him and let him go.” John 11:44
When a person is released from prison, there are many challenges he or she will face: finding work and housing, re-establishing family relationships, staying in recovery from addictions and finding a new way of life. All of these take determination and support. Without a network of support, many inmates seem set up to fail. In fact, 50-60% of people released from the prison/jail system will return within three years.
The St. Lazarus Project™ seeks to help reintegrate people into society by promoting family and community reconciliation, thereby reducing recidivism.
The St. Lazarus Project™ is a one year holistic team-mentoring program that addresses the specific spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs of people who have been in conflict with the law. Teams of three volunteer mentors are matched with one participant after they are released.
Mentors are asked to make a twelve month commitment to the Project. During that time, the mentor team meets with their mentee on a regular basis, providing the support needed to successfully re-enter the community.
St. Lazarus needed help to remove his bindings so that he could go on with his new life.
Executive Director of OCPM, Chaplain Patrick Tutella and Jason, a former inmate and first graduate of the St. Lazarus Project™. Also Shown: Fr. Demetrius Nicoloudakis, Orthodox Priest and Prison Volunteer, Scott Reher, Executive Director of Berks Connections/Pretrial Services at Berks County Courthouse, Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott Lash, Rev. Calvin Kurtz, Director of Reading/Berks Conference of Churches.
You Are The Connection!
By becoming a St. Lazarus Project™ mentor, you can help someone make a positive change in their life. As part of the community of faith, you will have the opportunity to serve God by “serving the least of these.” Parishes can support the St. Lazarus Project™ ministry in several ways:
+ Pray for those still in prison and for those who have been released.
+ Host an informational meeting to learn more about the St. Lazarus Project™.
+ Consider becoming a mentor.
+ Donate financially to the St. Lazarus Project.