Timothy O'Dell

A 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Mailing Address: Auburn Correctional Facility, Att: ACCA Chaplains Office

135 State St., Auburn, NY 13021
Telephone: (315) 729-4668

Fax: (315) 252-0336 [Header Page MUST Include: Att: ACCA]





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President's Letter

February 5, 2018


If we take a moment to look around us it will not take long for us to observe the "craziness" of the world.  The sectarian spirit (party spirit) is oh so common and we human beings somehow feel compelled to add our two-cents to this view or that one.  This plays into the hand of a darker spirit that drives a wedge between men.  Someone once said: "a house divided against itself cannot stand."


As Chaplains we are supposed to be practitioners of the art of being the presence of Christ… or the presence of a quiet and calming spirit.  If we fall prey to the "party" spirit we may become a source of division, or at least contributing to it, rather than a promoter of peace.


As Chaplains in pluralistic settings we are called to demonstrate the truth of our individual traditions by the way we live and conduct ourselves, by treating our fellow man with respect, kindness, compassion, and mercy.  These attributes help Chaplains become bridges between divisions… paving the way for communication and focusing on those things we share in common.


Ask anyone if he or she loves their family.  It is rare indeed to get anything but an affirmative response. Ask anyone if they want to be a blessing or a burden to those they hold dear… and you will hear their desire to be a blessing in all but the most-rare of circumstances. 


Such questions create opportunities to explore the ways and means to produce the desired outcomes, focusing on others and not ourselves.  These discovery moments are rich in hope and promise. 


The work of the prison chaplain has been to hold out hope… to point out the value of every human being… and to help individual's discover options for a brighter tomorrow.


Let me then ask, "Chaplain, who and what do those you serve see when they look at you?"  Each of us have an obligation to frequently visit the mirror, not to examine our appearance, but to honestly examine our own hearts.   There is a story about a plank and a log that most of us remember.  Help me to have no log in my eye that I may see to help others with their splinter.





The National Catholic Reporter has an by  in the

The article is 'click-able' here -




American Jails Magazine Special Issue on Chaplaincy Available Online:

While a few years since the publication, the July/August 2012 issue of the American Jail Association's magazine, which was devoted to 'Keeping the Faith - Religious Issues in Jails' is still a bench mark for chaplains and should be considered required reading. AJA's journal described the chaplaincy as: "Meeting the religious needs of inmates from all faith groups without breaking the budget, the law or security can be a formidable challenge. This unique issue of American Jails focuses on religious programming, including best practices and the role that a professional chaplain plays in the proper management of a detention facility." Several of the articles, a dual guest editorial, guest 'Chaplain's Corner' column and tribute to Sister Margaret Graziano have been contributed by ACCA members. To download a pdf file of the entire issue, click here .

  ACCA Endorsed Pew Forum 50-State Survey on Prison Chaplaincy Released
To view the entire report, go to
  Paper on Prison Chaplaincy Published
A paper on prison chaplaincy by Tom O'Connor and Jeff Duncan entitled 'The Sociology of Humanist, Spiritual, and Religious Practices in Prison: Supporting Responsivity and Desistance from Crime' is now available via the internet. For a free full-text pdf download, go to
 Sunday TV Mass Serves Inmates Nationwide
The American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association recommends a special Sunday Mass produced for those unable to participate in a parish liturgy that is now available via TV. For more information about this program, Click Here
ACA Religious Faith Policy
The American Correctional Association renewed its 'Public Correctional Policy on Religious Faith and Practice' at the 140th Congress of Correction, August, 2010. To read that policy, Click Here.
Article on Faith-Based Prison Units
To read an excellent article by Stephen Hall about Indiana's PLUS program, Click Here
Reprinted with permission of the American Correctional Association, Alexandria, VA


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