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Friday, July 20, 2007

ENS Multimedia: A conversation about prison ministry with Petero Sabune

Canon Petero Sabune is the former dean of The Episcopal Cathedral of Trinity and St. Phillip in Newark, NJ.


Petero Sabune: "Why are we doing this? We do it because Jesus said so."

By Neva Rae Fox

[Episcopal News Service]

Prayer. Study. Action. Reflection.

The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune believes that prison ministry is based on those four steps. Once the fourth step of reflection is reached, it's important to start over with the first.

He has based his lifelong vocation to prison ministry on that process.

Sabune is the pastor chaplain at Sing Sing Prison, a maximum security facility in Ossining, New York, about an hour's drive north of New York City. Most Americans know it simply as "Sing Sing "--a bleak and hard place depicted regularly in popular TV shows and movies.

But Sabune, 55 years old, sees beyond the bleakness of Sing Sing. That's because Sabune is more than just a priest who works in a prison. He is a laborer for the Lord, doing his work in places where people tend to recoil in fear. He sees the face of the Lord in the prisoners with whom he interacts every day.

In 25 years of ordained ministry, Sabune has been called to small struggling parishes as well as large, "tony" NYC churches. He has worked in street ministry, served as a cathedral dean, and has stood twice for election as a bishop. But no matter where or what his calling, prison ministry remains the backbone of his life's work.

Pointing to his ever-present Bible, he inquired, "Why are we doing this? We do it because Jesus said so."

Full story:

A video stream of Sabune's interview is available at:


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