Accompanying Returning Citizens with Hope


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 Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them.

                                                                                          Hebrews 13:3

 The ARCH (Accompanying Returning Citizens with Hope) Ministry is designed to transform lives in our 23-county Diocese of Columbus.  It is an outreach project aimed to minister to and meet the needs of the formerly incarcerated (returning citizens) and to help local parishes become welcoming communities and essential support services on the road to reintegration and healing. This project also aids those who minister to returning citizens in their ongoing conversion and living out of faith in compassion and mercy. ARCH is sponsored by the Catholic Diocese, Office for Social Concerns and the Vincentian Ohio Action Network and is funded by the generous support of the The Catholic Foundation.  


Returning citizens have paid their debt to society in terms of serving time in jail or prison yet continue to face monumental challenges to become active members of the community.  These consequences include collateral sanctions instituted by public policy, unemployment, homelessness, lack of reliable transportation, social service, and mental health treatment needs, and family life issues. The effects of criminal behavior and incarceration are also a major contributor to poverty in our community.  A central concern for SvDP and the Catholic Diocese of Columbus is the availability and commitment of properly equipped parish communities and members of SVdP to welcome and walk with returning citizens on their journey of faith, recovery, and reintegration back to society.  


The ARCH Ministry includes elements surfaced by a Returning Citizens Working Group that was convened in 2016 by the Office for Social Concerns and the Vincentian Ohio Action Network, representing Catholics, prison ministers, formerly incarcerated leaders, and community partners actively meeting to address these needs.  The ministry was formally launched in Winter 2017.


ARCH is focused on networking and equipping parishes for reentry ministry. We do this through supporting parish leaders in their calling in these areas. We also realize that this work is not to be done alone, but in supportive communities. Therefore, we are focused on developing ARCH ADVANCEMENT TEAMS inside parishes that will work together to advance this new and exciting ministry. ARCH ADVANCEMENT TEAMS will work together using the "ARCH ADVANCEMENT ROADMAP" to build and holistic approach to reentry in their parish context.   

Parish Based Initiatives

St. John Neumann Catholic Church Reentry 



Recommended Reading

  • Understanding Mass IncarcerationA People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time by James Kilgore
  • Just MercyA Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Greg Boyle
  • The New Jim CrowMass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • CaughtThe Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics by Marie Gottschalk
  • Locked InThe True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform by John Pfaff
  • Locking Up Our OwnCrime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.
  • Is Justice Possible? The Elusive Pursuit of What is Right by J. Paul Nyquist

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