“The challenges brought by COVID-19 are unprecedented. We came together as a Catholic community to voice our collective solidarity with individuals living and working behind bars who are suffering from the coronavirus pandemic in wholly unique ways.”

CMN Board Chair Mary Novak offers a reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter that illuminates restorative justice practices with the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

What do restorative practices have to teach us in the midst of a global pandemic?

Today we come together to rejoice, for Jesus has risen from the dead!

"Tonight, we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan, and death—the three ancient enemies of humankind."

"In each place along the journey of Good Friday, we see Jesus profoundly vulnerable to those around him. And yet, Jesus’ vulnerability is not the same as weakness."

On the first Holy Thursday, Jesus invited his human, fallible followers to sit at his table—and does the same for us today.

If you find yourself searching for a respite from the news during this unsettling time, consider diving into some of CMN's favorite books and movies instead.

The Passion of Christ vividly reminds us that Jesus left our world as a condemned prisoner. Jesus endured torture and the humiliation of being stripped—not only of his clothes, but also his human dignity. 

What is pressing on our hearts that stops us from seeking redemption? What prevents us from asking for God to make us whole?

The statue of St. Joseph sleeping reminds us that our difficulties are sometimes taken care of in the quiet of the night.

“I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” -John 9:39 

Just as we want to tell our story, get a word in, or share our opinion, so too does God want to talk to us. But we have to give God the chance to speak.

desert sands

"In contrast to those who fall victim to temptation, Jesus’ encounter with temptation only strengthened his resolve."

Ashes smeared into cross

"This outward mark of my faith opened the door to share my personal belief in God’s mercy that heals the sin-sick soul."

As the Young Women’s Initiative Coordinator at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, Karlyn Francois shares a story of radical accompaniment within the criminal legal system.

A Chicago community meets to "foster diversity in each circle in order to cultivate the moments of both 'Me too' and 'I never knew.'"

Linda Showman’s journey towards restorative justice ministry has taken several years and varying forms. Now a Project Consultant in the Office of Prison Ministry at the Archdiocese of Portland, Showman has found ways to invite others in her community into an ethic of restoration.

Three conferences on restorative justice have been organized by the students in the Calvin Prison Initiative. Eric Boldiszar – one of these students – shares the faith and inspiration leading him to create these events.

How must have Joseph felt upon learning of Mary’s pregnancy — an unlawful offense for which she could have received the death penalty — instead he decided to follow God’s will for reconciliation.

Take a brief glimpse into our favorite moments of #IFTJ2019:

Esta reflexión de La Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe ilumina nuestra dignidad como hijos de Dios especialmente los que están al margen de la sociedad.

This reflection for The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe identifies the God-given dignity to us all – particularly those society has marginalized.

For the Third Sunday of Advent — Gaudete Sunday — the Scripture readings begin to shift from “the Lord is coming” to “the Lord is at hand.”

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent call us, God’s children, to live in harmony with one another. This unity can only be achieved through the light of Christ.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we reflect on how we can live and walk as he did.

The chair of the Death Penalty Abolition and Restorative Justice issue team of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative shares how the group built a collective understanding around restorative practices using CMN's small group modules.

"On a chilly morning in Chicago, a dynamic group of Catholic leaders gathered at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) for a deeply enriching four-day Circlekeeper Training..."

Sister Helen Prejean, a longtime champion in the abolition movement, recalls an important encounter with racial issues. Sr. Helen is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. CMN is part of the CSJ Mission Network. 

Scroll through this collection of photos from CMN's 10th Anniversary Celebration held on October 10th, 2019 at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC.

CMN takes part in a delegation to St. Brides Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Through a mentorship program and Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), the Archdiocese of Dubuque is tackling issues of recidivism and addiction, and fostering strong community ties in the process.

Through a mentorship program and Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), the Archdiocese of Dubuque is tackling issues of recidivism and addiction, and fostering strong community ties in the process.

Tracey Tynan, Executive Director at Thrive For Life Prison Project, describes the spiritual growth and relationship building taking place within Thrive's ministry.

This October, will you including the death penalty in your pro-life conversations? Sign up to be notified when the 2019 Respect Life Toolkit becomes available.

Watch recordings of CMN's most recent webinars, and register to attend Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism: Continuing the Conversation on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019. 

Sr. Pat Thalhuber describes the birth of Stonebridge, a place where members of the St. Paul/Minneapolis communities can come together and where "misunderstandings are reshaped, divisions are bridged, and hope is embraced."

While representing a man fighting a death sentence in Texas, Christina Swarns started to experience justice in a new way.

CMN invites you to learn more about restorative justice, using circles in Catholic contexts, and ways to be an agent of restoration in your community. 

Chris and his mother, Pilar

In 2000, I entered the Richard P. LeBlanc Unit, a pre-release correctional facility in Beaumont, Texas, and joined a small group in "Bridges To Life."

Sign up to receive email notifications about new stories, reflections, and ministerial examples shared on the Hope Over Death Blog. Together we can uplift the individuals and communities that are doing the work to transform our broken criminal justice system. 

Jesus is alive! The Word became flesh, dwelt among us, was executed, and rose on the third day. Let’s Gather. Let’s Build. Let’s Rise.

Forgiving When It Feels Impossible

Image: hands holding the body of Christ with a black background

On this first day of the Triduum, we recognize God’s unfailing gift of undeserved, unconditional, and unifying love for us.  This love has the power to embolden every human heart and calls us to do the same. Let us ask for the grace to respond to God’s call to love one another accordingly.

Jesus is alive! The Word became flesh, dwelt among us, was executed, and rose on the third day. Let’s Gather. Let’s Build. Let’s Rise.

"Jesus was very clear, God wants life. Jesus rode into Jerusalem to give us life here and now!"

Lent is the Time to Return and Stay

Solemnity of St Joseph

Drawing Inspiration from the "Hidden Life" of St. Joseph

"Responding to the Unraveling"

"Our ways are not His ways."

"New Ways of Engaging with the World"

Text: "The fruits of our Lenten labors must be shared with others or we have completely missed the point" -Andy Rivas Image: people holding hands

"The Fruits of Our Lenten Labors"

CMN table at CSMG 2019

2019 got off to a rapid start at CMN. Within a month of the new year, we had pulled together an incredibly successful film screening, our first-ever Restorative Justice Circles Intensive, two dynamic workshops at the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, DC.

Here's a closer look at everything CMN's been up to this winter.

Text: Join Our Team! catholicsmobilizing.org/job-openings Image: notebook and pen

This position is a part-time role (25-29 hours per week), based in Washington, DC. The Program Assistant has primary responsibility for supporting all program implementation, administrative management and enhancement of internal systems for Catholic Mobilizing Network.

“Mi alma alaba la grandeza del Señor; mi espíritu se alegra en Dios mi Salvador.” Esta palabras de Mari a su prima Isabel revelan la profundidad de su fe de ella en las promesas de Dios y de Su plan de salvación.

Kate Grosmaire #HopeOverDeath Speaking Tour Washington DC St. John Paul II National Shrine

For many people, the first moment they hear about restorative justice is a formative one. So formative, that Kate and Deacon Andy Grosmaire recall exactly when and how it occurred.

On this special evening, at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington DC, Kate and Deacon Andy shared how their Catholic faith led them to restorative justice.

Healing Garden Philadelphia

Restorative justice invites us to cultivate moral imagination, to watch vigilantly for creative ways to heal pain caused by violence and build spaces for transformative encounter to take place. Fr. Paul Morrissey shares how he did this in an unlikely corner of Philadelphia. His reflection on events of the past reminds us of our nation's ongoing struggles for racial justice today.

Restorative Justice Mountain Catholic Mobilizing Network

Imagine the criminal justice system as a mountain with restorative justice as the vision at the top. Much is need to move toward that summit, but we cannot get there without abolishing the death penalty.

Knowledgeable about foundational restorative practices, DePaul University in Chicago and Georgetown University in Washington, DC developed programs that create transformational encounter amongst incarcerated individuals, traditional students and faculty.

Restorative justice is so drastically different from America's adversarial and retributive approach to justice that it can be difficult to envision another way. It was this dilemma that inspired CMN to develop our small group educational modules. Hear about the impact it had in three pilot groups.

A Catholic movement for restorative justice is underway.

Joe Cotton, the Director of Pastoral Care and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Seattle, explains how restorative practices are being used throughout the King County juvenile justice system to transform the healing process for all who have been impacted by crime.

Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles in Washington State

Joe Cotton, the Director of Pastoral Care and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Seattle, explains how restorative practices are being used to transform the healing process for all who have been impacted by crime.

CMN's Director of Restorative Justice reflects on her call to issues of criminal justice and how Catholic Mobilizing Network is seeking to enliven Catholics to become a part of this national conversation on restorative justice. We believe that responses to harm and crime must honor each person’s God-given dignity and offer opportunities for restoration, whenever possible.

Catholic Mobilizing Network is pleased to have been invited to be the creative voice for Education for Justice's 2018 Lenten Reflections.

Yes, we are all pilgrims on the journey. Any good that we can do for another comes back to us a hundredfold. Jesus is in prison as well as outside the barbed wire fence. Can we answer Jesus’s invitation to visit him inside?  

Participants of PBMR's Forgiveness Circle, including founder Fr. David Kelly

Restorative justice calls us to not only consider how we are personally connected with crime and criminal justice but also with one another. Through encounter, transformation, and amends we may be transformed and honor the human dignity inherent in each one of us.

Participants of PBMR's Forgiveness Circle, including founder Fr. David Kelly

Sister Janet Ryan, OSF of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation recounts a recent experience participating in a Forgiveness Circle and the power this restorative practice have in healing and reconciliation within a community.

Louisiana currently has the highest imprisonment rate in the country. A series of upcoming legislation seeks to reduce sentencing lengths, support re-entry and re-invest funds to reduce recidivism.

"How does God call me to be in relationship with my family, my community, and society?" This is the question that we must continually ask ourselves. The life of Jesus and our Catholic faith offer beautiful examples and deep wisdom about justice, mercy, and reconciliation.

“Instruments of reconciliation” is a new national campaign to amplify active nonviolence in the U.S. Catholic Church. 

For Immediate Release: 
January 26, 2017
Contact: Alexandra Carroll
alexandra@catholicsmobilizing.org

We call on you and all members of the incoming administration to prioritize human life and to promote policies that will enable life to flourish. You can show that you value life by committing to eliminate the poverty and violence that often leads to abortion and mass incarceration; by championing policies that address abortion, abolish the death penalty, confront climate change, promote humane immigration reform, welcome refugees fleeing unspeakable violence and work for a just and sustainable peace.

Laura Schaefer serves as Counsel for the Capital Clemency Resource Initiative Death Penalty Due Process Review Project of the American Bar Association

Although the effort to seek clemency for non-violent offenders is gaining traction in our country, the very notion of clemency is not new. In fact, the origins date back thousands of years, to both ancient Greek and Judeo law.

Sister Marion Defeis served as a chaplain for 23 years at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York before retiring in 2007.