Prison Ministry

The North American Prison Ministry Apostolate

The North American Prison Ministry Apostolate, consisting of some 2,500 knights, dames, auxiliary and volunteers may be the largest Catholic outreach to the incarcerated in the world. Today the Prison Ministry Apostolate is composed of the American, Canadian, Federal and Western Associations and has as its mission serving the spiritual needs of our incarcerated brothers and sisters.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to encourage our members and others to encounter and accompany those in prison, jail, or detention and those recently released. We will seek to compassionately demonstrate the hope that comes from our Catholic Christian faith and from God’s love for those persons.

Pen Pals

“A letter has soul.” Bill Gaertner spent 8 ½ years inside a prison. A letter from a friend changed the course of his life. Bill shares his insight on the impact of letters upon the incarcerated. Bill tells his compelling story in the first 20 minutes of the attached video. Then, stay tuned for a discussion of common questions and tips for making your pen pal experience more fruitful. To see the video, click here. 

There is a way to visit those in prison without having to go inside a prison unit. The anonymous Pen Pal program opens the door to a safe encounter without revealing your full name or address and without going inside a prison unit. To learn more, contact maltapenpalprogram@gmail.com.




Click here to view the Pen Pal Program Guidance package

Click here to read the Introduction to the Order of Malta Pen Pal Program

Click here to read about the Pen Pal Process

Click here to view a Sample Letter


Gatekeepers - Business of Living Program

Gatekeepers was created to help inmates and ex-offenders become productive members of their communities.  The centerpiece of Gatekeepers is its unique Business of Living Program that was developed entirely by ex-offenders.  A Business of Living Workbook has been prepared and is now on tablets in over 250 correctional institutions.  To date, hundreds of men and women have used the Business of Living Program to better their lives.

The Business of Living Workbook with videos is set forth on this site.  If you have questions, please call Mike McGarry at 202-361-5704.

Please click here to access the Business of Living Program's Re-Entry Guide. 

Forty Weeks

Thanks to Father Bill Watson SJ of Sacred Story Institute (sacredstory.net), we have an opportunity to open the doors to the spiritual path that leads to an encounter with Jesus Christ. Our writers are matched with a pal inside the walls and together they will be guided on a Forty Week spiritual journey by sharing monthly reflections through their correspondence. 

Watch the video prepared by Father Bill Watson below!


Prison Ministry Presentation

2023 Formation Talk

by Douglas A. Sandvig, KM

Click here to read.

Stations of the Cross

The Stations are a powerful reminder for us that Jesus understands our suffering. Jesus was a prisoner on the night before he died and understands the hurt, loss, loneliness, and anxiety that comes from incarceration. Click on the image below to join us on The Way of the Cross.

Hospitaller Resources

Click on the image below to access the Hospitaller Resources.

Contact Us

Doug Sandvig, KM