The following comes from a February 23 Catholic San Francisco article by Christina Gray:

About 35 young adults gathered in the St. Dominic parish hall February 17 to write letters to and purchase Catholic books for men and women incarcerated in state and federal prisons around the country in a Jubilee Year of Mercy service project partnership with Ignatius Press.

Maureen Dillon, a member of the parish’s young adult group leadership committee, said the group is focusing on a different corporal work of mercy for each of its monthly service projects this year.

During the evening event, participants had the opportunity to write a personal note of support and encouragement to inmates who wrote to the Catholic book publisher seeking Bibles and other spiritual and devotional publications and purchase those books for them (or any others in the catalog).

Inmate letters often cite a desire to “feed their hunger for deeper connection with God and spiritual nourishment,” said Dillon’s sister and fellow parishioner Marianna Pedrelli, a marketing professional in the San Francisco office of Ignatius Press on whose desk the inmates letters often landed.

Some inmates imply or simply state that they have no one to write them a letter or send them a book.

“The idea of being that alone really hit me,” said Pedrelli. “Most of us have so many people to love us and the idea of not even having anyone to buy you a book really moved me.”

Ignatius Press has no formal process for handling the prisoner requests, according to Pedrelli, who teamed up with her sister Maureen to organize the young adult event that offered the opportunity for individuals to reach a merciful hand to the prisoners.

Participants were matched up with an inmate and given the handwritten letter he or she wrote to Ignatius Press. Each person wrote back a personal note of support that the parish mailed and purchased any books requested, and more, for the publisher to mail to the prison.

To purchase an Ignatius Press book for a prison inmate, contact