Walter Forney
(518) 877-8779

Scott Brady
(518) 877-5138

Mike Tidd
(518) 899-3174

Rich Polsinello
(518) 369-8738

Bill Mullins
(518) 664-6938

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 Residents Encounter Christ (REC)

Matthew 25:31-40 

“…Lord when did we visit you when you were in prison?  The King will answer them: ‘I assure you, as often as you did it for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me.’”


It is the mission of REC to serve the Lord within our diocese by encouraging the prison inmate population to become more active Christians during and after their incarceration.  Our service to the Lord is done primarily through an intense 3 day program. The major theme for the experience is: to know, love and serve the Lord and to die to self, to rise again in the Lord, and to go forth together (The Paschal Mystery).  The basic techniques used emphasize personal and community growth.  A community grows by developing its members (not isolation) and by improving its environment (not avoidance.)

The REC Weekend.: A three (3) day retreat experience for about 60  male residents conducted within a New York State correctional facility by a team of 15 Catholic volunteers.  The weekend usually starts on a Friday morning and ends on Sunday afternoon.

The Lay Director:  A volunteer chosen to organize and coordinate a specific REC weekend retreat. 

REC Team:  A group of Catholic volunteers brought together for to form a team and work together to prepare their talks that will be given on the weekend.  They form the outside team.  A group on inmates are selected to give talks and are the inside team.


Friday:  John 12:24 “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains but a seed…” This day is devoted to ‘dying to self’ and changing.  Talks are given by both the outside team and the inside team.  In the evening there is a Paschal Vigil Service including the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Saturday:  John 12:24 “…if it dies it produces much fruit…” This day starts with a talk on rising again with the Lord and how it is rooted in Scriptures.  Talks are given by the outside team with a Liturgy followed by a Hootenanny.  During the “Hoot” more outside volunteers arrive.  There is singing, a talk given by a volunteer give a Peace Talk and the residents have an opportunity to witness.

Sunday:  Matt. 28:18-20  “As the Father has sent me so I send you…” The purpose of this day is to encourage the residents to continue the process they started on Day One and to continue trying even if they fail.  They are also encouraged to make a conscientious effort to bring Christ to others and share by their example.

Monthly follow up meetings occur and some facilities have Bible Study. 

Time involvement

The weekend will be from 8 am to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 8 am to 3 pm on Sunday.  Meetings prior to the Weekend for team formation.  Dept. Of Correction application, orientation, TB test are also required for new members.

Other involvement

Palanca:  The act of praying and performing sacrifices for the residents and writing Palanca Letters which are given to the residents.  Letters start with “Dear Brother in Christ,”  Your last name is not given and least 60 letters are needed so that each resident receives one.

Hootenanny:  The Saturday late afternoon activity where outside volunteers arrive singing.  A faith sharing witness talk is given.  The residents are given a time to witness.


Volunteering to work as a team member and music minister.

Participating in the Hootenanny.

Performing Palanca and writing palanca letters – English and Spanish are needed.

Supporting the REC program.