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Cardinal Dolan celebrates mass with prison inmates


HAMLET OF WALLKILL – Cardinal Timothy Dolan visited the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill Wednesday where he celebrated a special mass with inmates and staff as he delivered his Holy Week message of hope.

Cardinal Dolan first prayed with the inmates at the maximum security facility and then gave a heartfelt sermon assuring those who are incarcerated that they are not alone spiritually and God has not forgotten about them.

“I come because I want you to know I love you very much, and I mean that; I respect you, I love you, I wanted to pray with you, and I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone, you’re not forgotten, and the Catholic family of New York remembers you and feels close to you,” he said during his sermon.

Dolan said that aside from genuinely enjoying his visits at New York’s correctional facilities, he has been particularly inspired by the new Pope to reach out to inmates and include them in the spiritual community.

Prison Superintendent J.T. Smith said that the facility was humbled by Dolan’s presence.

Smith said the facility is housing many long-term individuals who, as part of their punishment, are separated from their families and the rest of the community, “His presence here really was electric in many ways and I really believe that he brought light into dark and really touched both the inmate population and the staff that were present during his rounds at the facility and mass.”

Once the mass concluded Dolan met every inmate and staff member present and called it an honor to have been able to spend Wednesday morning at their facility.