About Us

“Finding the Way in Jail”—How It Began

In 1997, by the grace of God, the Detention Ministry Office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hired me as a Chaplain.  I was assigned to work at Pitchess Detention Center, North Facility, a jail with up to 1,600 men in a medium security classification.

After working with the men for about a year, it became clear to me that often a request for a rosary, a bible, a stamp or a pencil was a subtle way of asking for help on a deeper level.  Receiving literally hundreds of these requests, the problem of reaching out to so many, posed a question.  How to respond to that cry without scaring them off and without preaching to them or giving superficial answers?  How to walk with them for a while and offer them a “ray of hope” for a better life and at the same time help them build self-confidence and a sense of achievement as the basis for recovery.

The answer was found with the help of the volunteer Chaplains who worked with me and especially with the guidance and support of Fr. Gerard Weber, formerly of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and now residing in Encino, California.  His past credits include General Editor of the Benzinger Religious Education Series and President of the ACTA Foundation.  Through our collaboration, we produced twenty one pamphlets entitled “Finding the Way in Jail”.  “The Way” is a phrase used by early Christians to describe their new life in Christ that they had embraced.

Our program is currently being used in all four facilities at the Pitchess Detention Center, in other facilities in the Los Angeles area, in Orange County, and in other states.  There is more work to be done!

– Gonzalo De Vivero

Copyright 2009, Finding the Way Publications Inc., A Non-Profit Corporation