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The Catholic Corner - Discovery (Prison Ministry)

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Over 51 years ago, on a Thursday evening, August 27, 1970, a group of 27 men including five priests entered Montana State Prison (MSP) in Deer Lodge to conduct a Cursillo. They were met by 22 inmates and 3 staff members of MSP who would become the first candidates for a Cursillo ever held in a prison in Montana. Remarkably, after some research, we discovered this was also the first Cursillo conducted in a prison in the entire United States.

That ministry, as part of the Diocese of Helena, continues today with volunteers from Belfry, Belgrade, Billings, Bozeman, Conrad, Great Falls, Helena, Miles City, Missoula, Roberts, and Three Forks. We conduct two Discovery Weekends each year at MSP and one at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby along with monthly Ultreyas in both facilities. We promise the inmates there that we will come back and have done so nearly every month for 51 + years.

Discovery/Ultreya Prison Ministry as part of the Diocese of Helena:

· Ministers to 50 – 70 male inmates every month.

· Has conducted 122 Cursillo/Discovery Weekends (90 at MSP and 22 at CCC)

· Conducts monthly ministry at Montana State Prison, Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby, and Riverside Special Needs Unit in Boulder.

· Conducts weekly Catholic Bible study at Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby

· Has conducted Discovery Weekends at Yellowstone Correctional Facility in Billings and Glendive Regional Prison in Glendive.

· Members of our team provide communion services and/or weekly ministry to inmates in Great Falls and Billings regional facilities.

· Our team is made up of 37 men and 4 women, 36 Catholic and 5 Protestants. Our inmate groups are typically 20% Catholic 80% Protestants.

The Gospel of Matthew calls us to “visit the sick and those in prisons.” If you are interested in becoming part of our team, or would just like more information please contact Moe Wosepka, 406-461-8106.

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