St. Basil Prison Ministry
Christ the prisoner icon

The prison ministry seeks to find Christ in the prisoner and his or her family. There are many ways to be involved in our ministry during the year:
• Donate or volunteer during our yearly Angel Tree Christmas Gift drive for children of inmates
• Hand-write a holiday card to send to an inmate during one of several letter-writing campaigns sponsored before an upcoming holiday
• Drive a family to visit a father or mother at one of our local correctional facilities
• Participate in one of our other events
For more information about how you can participate in the prison ministry at St. Basil, please contact Nina Diehl at or 773-678-5125.
Prison Facts
For millions of Americans, incarceration is a harsh reality.
• 2.3 million Americans are behind bars.
• Over half of prisoners are parents.
• 2.7 million children have a parent in prison.
• The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s people and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
• One of 34 Americans is under some form of correctional supervision.
• More than 700,000 prisoners return to our communities every year.
• 40 percent of released prisoners will return to prison within three years.
• One in four African American men will serve time in a state or federal prison.

Angel Tree Christmas Program
St. Basil’s prison ministry connects with families of incarcerated men and women through the Angel Tree Christmas program. Through this program, parishioners provide gifts for local children on behalf of their incarcerated parent.
Prison Ministry
New/Used Book Drive
Parishioners and friends of St. Basil’s have donated over 500 books to be given to correctional facilities across Illinois. We have sent the books to individual inmates, the libraries at Pontiac, Menard, and Metropolitan Correctional Centers, and the “Books-to-Prisons” program through Chicago Women in Publishing.
Ministering by Mail
Prison ministry volunteers at St. Basil also send cards to inmates and their families at Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day. In response to our efforts, we have received many heartfelt and moving letters from inmates. Below are excerpts from a few such letters.
What a great joy it was to receive your letter, warm wishes, and prayers. I hope that you realize how important your ministry is. It’s so very easy to remember the well-deserving who are in a desperate situation—the ailing child, the family which suffers a loss, a service member in harm’s way and separated from loved ones—and to support him or her with prayers. It’s, of course, human nature to be much more moved to pray for them than for criminals and my fellow high-profile ne’er-do-wells who are undeserving of society’s sympathy but are nonetheless desperate for some measure of redemption.
Mark Taylorville Correctional Center

If it wasn’t for St. Basil Church, I wouldn’t have any mail coming in or no one thinking of me or my son. I am still fighting to be in my son’s life. It’s time for me to change my life—not just for me, but for him.
Western Illinois Correctional Center

I pray that I’d someday be in the position to give back to someone in need the way that you have extended your hand to me and my family. My focus is to make sure I come home from this the best man and best father that I can be. I’m optimistic that God will continue to transform me.
Pinckneyville Correctional Center

The Christmas card and other cards you sent were a blessing to receive. They came at a time when I needed them most. I pray for you and your church.
Sumner Correctional Center

The program that you provide for incarcerated parents is truly a blessing. I’ve been incarcerated for almost a decade now, and this was the first time I received a card letting me know that they took care of the kids. It’s hard trying to be a father from prison.
Paul Dixon Correctional Center

I have been in prison for five years. . . . It’s amazing that I was just sitting here thinking that no one cares about me, and all along I am in your prayers.
Danville Correctional Center

Thank you for the words of encouragement and love your ministry has bestowed upon me. My conviction is in the process of being overturned, and I am due to be back in Chicago within two months. Upon my return, I would love to volunteer with the prison ministry project and attend your church.
Potosi Correctional Center (released)

The libraries in correctional facilities are very important to the incarcerated population because they provide opportunities for information, educational and recreational reading, self-improvement and access to legal resources. Since the library has no budget to purchase or replace books, it is exciting for us to receive new books through the generosity of people like you.
Melinda Martinez
Library Associate
Metro Correctional Center, Chicago

For more information about how you can participate in the prison ministry at St. Basil, please contact Pat Cole at 773-252-8254,