Lawyer gave up high finance for prison chaplaincy

May 23, 2011
Chaplain Dale Recinella talks to inmates about suffering during religious education instruction at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Fla.

CNS PHOTO | DARON DEAN

Chaplain Dale Recinella talks to inmates about suffering during religious education instruction at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Fla.

Dale Recinella played the financing game like a fiddle, even working through Christmas one year to secure the complex arrangements to finance a new stadium for football's Miami Dolphins.

Yet he turned his back on the twin rushes of high pay and high power to minister to some of the most downtrodden: poor people with HIV and AIDS, and eventually prisoners on death row.

Recinella chronicled his journey in a new book, Now I Walk on Death Row.

"The book is not so much about the death penalty than it is about seeking the answer to the question: Did Jesus mean what he said?" Recinella said in an interview.

As a volunteer chaplain, he teaches inmates about "living Gospel values authentically in our lives and in situations we encounter day in and day out.

We have 110 inmates. . . . They change over every year. It is an extremely valuable program.

Those (in the program) who are released have a much better chance of making it."