An execution chamber in the United States An execution chamber in the United States  (AFP or licensors)

Gospel facts that fill the heart

Evangelizing an evangelist: Dale Recinella, a “lay chaplain” to death row inmates in Florida, shares his testimony in this story about conversion.

By Andrea Tornielli

In his Epiphany homily, on January 6, 2017, speaking of the Three Wise Men, Pope Francis said: “The 'nostalgeous' believer, driven by his faith, goes in search of God, as the Magi did, in the most distant corners of history, because he knows in his heart that the Lord is waiting for him there. They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to places not yet evangelized, to encounter their Lord. Nor do they do this out of a sense of superiority, but rather as beggars who cannot ignore the eyes of those who for whom the Good News is still uncharted territory.”

These are words that come alive in the story recounted in this article, with which Dale Recinella begins his collaboration with Vatican Media. Dale, a former Wall Street finance lawyer, left his profession thirty years ago to devote his life to the least and the forgotten. Along with his wife Susan he ministers, as “lay chaplain,” to the 320 inmates of Florida’s death row, the largest in the United States. A few weeks ago, he received in Rome the “Guardian of Life” prize, awarded to him by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Dale's story, the “Gospel fact” described here, testifies to the reality of the words and of the gaze described in Francis’ homily: it is the evangelizer who is evangelized, it is the one who went to comfort who is himself comforted, because he contemplates, in amazement, God's action in the lives of people who encounter His mercy and open themselves to His grace.

23 October 2021, 14:30