Thursday, March 16, 2006

In memory of Nick Barnes

Those of us who work in detention ministry around here got some shocking news last Friday morning. Stanley "Nick" Barnes, senior chaplain at US Penitentiary, Atwater was killed in a head-on collision while driving home Thursday night.

For a year, while the Bureau of Prisons was searching for a Catholic chaplain, I was one of the volunteers keeping some kind of Catholic presence at USP Atwater, and its associated minimum security camp. (I no longer work there -- we concentrate our time at another facility. For security reasons, I would rather not post about any facility I currently visit.) In a federal maximum security prison, volunteers are escorted in and out of the facility, and often Nick was our escort. There are facilities where the various Christian chaplains from different denominations feud. I think that is scandalous, and unprofessional. We volunteers never had a problem with Chaplain Nick or his staff, and they were often very helpful with the difficult task of trying to put together a consistent program with volunteers. He remains an excellent example of what a prison chaplain should be: a person of deep faith who remains true to their own faith tradition by making sure that all inmates have access to pastoral care appropriate to their own individual beliefs.

May light perpetual shine on him, O Lord, and bring comfort to his family.

1 comment:

Debbie Barnes Moffitt said...

Thank you so much, Nick Barnes was my brother and his loss is almost unbearable. It is comforting to know that he made a difference in this world.