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Accompaniment: It Is Good That We Are Here (July 2009)
Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Jesuit priest celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a detainee.

This year more than 400,000 people will be held in detention centers throughout the United States.  Fr. Jack Mattimore, S.J, a chaplain at a federal detention facility in Batavia, New York, accompanies detainees while they wait for the results of their immigration proceedings.

Take a moment to reflect as you read about Fr. Mattimore’s ministry of accompaniment, a central part of the JRS mission.

Reflections for Prayer

At the end of November, the Religious Services Program staff received a message at the office asking us to relay the news to a Russian detainee that his mother had died.  Being with him, crying with him, and praying with him was a blessing. He was an only child and had held on to the hope that he would see her again.

Only a few days later, it was fellow detainees who told the officer to call the chaplain because one of the Dominican men had just heard on the phone that his six-year-old son had died suddenly of a heart attack while in his first grade classroom in Miami.  Again, we shared tears, prayers, stories and photos of the smiling boy, which made me aware that it is good that we are here.

And only a few days ago, a young Jordanian man who had spent seven years as a Trappist monk in Israel, told his story of being taken off a bus in Rochester having just finished a visit to a nearby Trappist monastery to pray about whether he ought to re-enter monastic life.  He smiles peacefully and says that God works in mysterious ways.

Again, it is good that we are here.

Jack Mattimore, S.J.

Suggested Reading for Prayer
Matthew 17:1-8

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents 5 here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, 6 then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid."