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Joliet Diocese Restorative Justice Committee

Overview | Mission and Vision | Committee Members | Resources

During this past year, we have been working to create a collaboration effort bringing together staff from Lewis & St. Francis Universities, law enforcement, corrections staff; service providers, the faith community and others to bringing to address problems in the Criminal Justice System.

We are also working the staff of the Office for Human Dignity to promote more prison ministry. The first step is to hold an event during Lent which would honor all people of the Joliet Diocese who are involved in this ministry in some way.

We have monitored the building of a for profit detention center in Joliet Diocese and as individuals participated by writing letters and attending community meetings.

We have also monitored the closing of prisons in Illinois.

Mission Statement

"Our mission is to inform and educate people in the Joliet Diocese of the needs of those affected by crime and the Criminal Justice System and to work for systemic change. We challenge parishes and individuals to assist, minister to, and act to heal victims and their families, those incarcerated and their families, as well as the entire community.”

Vision Statement

“As heralds of the Good News of Jesus and grounded in Catholic Social Teaching, the Joliet Diocese Restorative Justice Committee, promotes justice, forgiveness and mercy. We affirm and celebrate the dignity of all people. We reach out to persons who are victims, incarcerated, ex-offenders, jail and prison staff, the families of all involved and to the community at large.”

Daring to break the wall of silence, we strive to make this a significant part of parish life by providing information and opportunities for service as we network and collaborate with parish, diocesan and other agencies.” In the spirit of restorative justice, we encourage a passion for ministering to all those affected by crime and incarceration as we work together for systemic change.”

Possible Goals and Objectives 

Goal: to have Catholic parishes informed of the problems faced by victims of crime, offenders and their families, in the light of Catholic Social Teaching, resulting in the creation of a parish team that will create an atmosphere of welcoming for these groups in the parish and provide a Christian presence to them, and also to promote legislative advocacy for more just structures and practice in the penal system and society at large

  1. Need for education of pastors, deacons, teachers, catechists, seminarians, lay parish administrators, and parishioners on criminal justice issues. Invite CCW. (annual program would be part of this education piece).
  2. Possibility of educating pastors, deacons, and seminarians (clergy) separately. Fr. Ray Lescher was mentioned as a possible speaker.
  3. Need for resource materials for parishes, family members of the incarcerated, for victims and their families. Gather statistics, Prepare starter kits for those released from penal institutions, develop prayer services, develop book discussion clubs and other non-religious groups inside the prison or jail.
  4. Post Criminal Justice Issues/Restorative Justice issues and events on www.paxjoliet.org
  5. Need of assistance to those incarcerated, to guards, and to jail and prison staff.
  6. Need of assistance to victims, their families, to communities at large.

Restorative Justice Committee Members

Name Parish/Organization
Dr. Christine A. Billups Lewis University, Romeoville
Dr. Jerome A. Blakemore Lewis University, Romeoville
Gloria Cesario St. Mary Immaculate, Plainfield
Thomas L. Garlitz, Ex Officio Office for Human Dignity, Diocese of Joliet
Scott C. McWilliams The Freeform Radio Initiative and Incarcerated Voices
Jana Minor, Chair Aunt Mary's Storybook Project
David O'Connor
Mary Ann Rempe St. Thomas the Apostle, Naperville
Dr. Erik S. Root Lewis University, Romeoville
Joyce Ruhaak Sacred Heart, Joliet
Jill A. Skole Agape Missions, NFP, Joliet
Concetta Smart St. Liborius, Steger
Dr. Billie Terrel University of St. Franics, Joliet
Sr. Juanita Ujcik, OSF Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet
A. Scott Washington University of St. Francis, Joliet
Seth Wyncott