Richard Gallegos: 2012 Lumen Christi Award Finalist

Gallegos

“I am constantly amazed by how Dick allows himself to be open to wherever the Holy Spirit may be leading him. He is always willing to let go and let God take control.”

“Dick's dedication to prison ministry is commendable. He continues to persevere in reaching out to those incarcerated throughout Idaho, the result of Dick's persistence bears much fruit as many inmates have found hope in a renewed or newly found relationship with Christ.”

Richard Gallegos, Diocese of Boise, ID

When Richard Gallegos co-founded the Idaho Catholic Prison Ministry in 2000, he was guided by the vision that all men are created in the image and likeness of God. Over the past 12 years, he has embraced this vision and helped extend the Catholic faith to inmates in correctional institutions throughout the Diocese of Boise.

Prior to this ministry, a Catholic presence was almost non-existent in many of Idaho’s prisons. Gallegos faced a difficult task: gaining the confidence of officials who were reluctant to allow any type of Catholic services. Through extensive effort, he developed strong relationships with these officials, and now offers services such as weekly Mass, sacramental preparation and music ministry. This spiritual support brings inmates into the life of the church and gives them hope for a better future. To address the ongoing needs of these individuals, Gallegos and his team have developed the “Idaho Resource Manual”. This tool provides those re-entering society with information regarding community services, employment training, support groups and a list of local parishes.

Gallegos’s ministry is unleashing the transformative power of faith in prisons throughout the diocese, but this sweeping transformation cannot be contained within the cellblock walls. Its impact can be seen in the ever-increasing group of over 150 volunteers, who together with Gallegos, extend gentle compassion and Christ’s redemptive love to the inmates they serve.