Bilingual volunteers sought for prison ministry
Danny Krug didn’t tell her husband everything about those Friday evening meetings because she didn’t want to worry him. He might have been anxious had he known she was going to jail – to minister.
That was three years ago. Since then she has fessed up about those occasional Friday nights, and is now looking for help with the ministry, especially those who can speak Spanish.
“I now tell my family I am going to jail and they know I go just because I need to serve. My main objective is to reach out to the Hispanics,” she said. “But if I go there and they don’t bring Hispanics, I’m not going to leave. I’m there to serve and we try to let them know that.”
Krug ministers to women and men, English and Spanish speaking at the Butler County Detention Center in El Dorado. And when a priest is available, she assists with English or bilingual Masses in the jail.
Krug, who was born in Venezuela, is usually there as a shoulder to lean on. “We just talk,” she said. “And sometimes we do it bilingually and I translate.”
Those incarcerated are not like most people imagine prisoners in jail to be. It is only the prisoners who want to socialize, who aspire to improve themselves who participate, Krug said.
“They have such camaraderie,” she said. “They become such good friends sometimes they don’t want to separate themselves. Even though they don’t understand the language of each other, they do enough to help each other and to be there for each other.”
She said all of those she ministers to need a friend, someone to talk to. “They need to hear about the hope that God’s love brings them and that people love them.”
Krug said one evening during a discussion about sin and God’s forgiveness, she was part of a grace-filled moment where everyone began spilling the stories of their lives, opening their hearts to the entire group.
They listened to each other and shared ideas about helping one other, she said.
“They were shedding tears…the guys, they look so tough, but they were just melting there,” she said. “They let it go. They didn’t have anything else to lose.”
Krug said her interest in the ministry began after she exchanged letters with a woman jailed and separated from her children for a relatively minor offense. She contacted Jim Rundell, the director of the St. Dismas Ministry at that time, who told her to consider volunteering for the ministry to the incarcerated.
Krug said she was apprehensive about going into a jail. “The first time I went in with a group of about five. I was so scared,” she said. “My legs were literally shaking when that door shut behind me.”
The evening went quickly, she said, and despite her nervousness she enjoyed it and was eager to return.
“Look at your life and look at theirs. They appreciate the little bit of hope we bring in from the outside. They love it. They want it.”
Those in jails and prisons are our brothers and sisters, she said, our sons and daughters.
Interested in ministry to those in jail?
More volunteers are needed in the ministry to the incarcerated, especially those who are bilingual. Those who believe they are being drawn to the ministry may contact Jennifer Bugner, coordinator of the St. Dismas Ministry, at bugnerj@CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org or at 316-440-1736.