Home » Uncategorized » MASS AT THE DANE COUNTY JAIL


These men are not animals,
but they reside in cages
smaller than the cages at the zoo.

Father Mick and I
have presented our ID’s to the deputy
and locked up our valuables
and we are threading our way
through these gray catacombs.

A deputy unlocks the chilly room
with its wood altar and its Hammond organ.
As soon as twenty men file in,
the door will be locked again.

Father Mick and I
had to go through Volunteer Orientation,
where we were warned
about the evils of fraternization.
No favorites, we were warned, no friendliness,
no treating inmates like people,
unless we treat them like lepers.
Father Mick and I agree
that Christianity trumps all this
and Christians have their own way of dealing
with lepers.

Oh this, the Third Thursday in Ordinary Time,
Father Mick will read about Jesus recruiting
Peter, Andrew, James and John.
I have chosen “Pescador de Hombres”
as the opening hymn.

Father will, in Spanish and then in English,
tell us we’re all called to be fishers of men,
and this Dane County Jail
is a good place to go fishing for
the biggest, meanest fish.

And then we’ll all pray, loud and long,
the Prayers of the Faithful,
for all our children, all our parents, for wives and girlfriends and
friends and neighborhoods and also for our victims.

Somebody always says, “I’d like to pray for my enemies,
cause they don’t know no better.”


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