History

Brief History:

• Deacon Ken ordained June 17th, 1978 and assigned to San Rafael Parish, then assigned to Mission San Luis Rey.
Deacon Ken & Marie attend the 2nd International Congress for the Family of the Americas and met Mother Teresa in 1982
Life in the Spirit Seminars developed
• Deacon Ken began doing prison ministry as Chaplain in 1983
• St Dismas Guild was incorporated in 1989
• Started monthly newsletter in 1989
• Deacon Ken & Marie co-authored the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study, completed in 1992
St. Dismas has served over 50,000 prisoners since its inception
Co-authored Secrets of a Happy Family, completed in 1996
Marriage Seminars developed
• Outreach of St. Dismas Guild named Culture of Life Family Services formed in 2000, later becoming it's own nonprofit organization
Outreach of St. Dismas Guild named Benedictus formed in and later becoming it's own nonprofit organization

http://www.colfs.org/index.php

How St. Dismas Guild began:

Deacon Ken Finn became a Catholic deacon in 1978 and a few years later began work as a prison chaplain counseling inmates at a rate of 100 to 150 a month. Deacon Ken said, “I try to tell the person they’re not a piece of junk or garbage… Christ loved the sinner... I have never met a person in my life who does not want to be loved.”

Through this work, Deacon Ken developed a passion for prisoners and saw a need for a bible study that could be distributed free of charge to those in prison. Inspired by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Deacon Ken and his wife, Marie began St. Dismas Guild in 1989 and they began writing a bible study. The Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study was completed in 1992 and is now published in both English and Spanish.

St. Dismas Guild is a Catholic non-profit organization whose mission is to bring Jesus Christ, the Word of God, to the broken, the lost and the lonely, the sick and the imprisoned. The objective of St. Dismas Guild is to prepare, transcribe, publish and distribute teaching aids and commentaries on Holy Scripture and to go out and search for the broken, the lost, the lonely, the hurting, the addict, and the sick and bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and continued growth by the power of the Holy Spirit through Sacred Scripture, Church Teaching, and the Sacraments. Deacon Ken & Marie have led many Life in the Spirit Seminars, Marriage Seminars, Strong Women of God and Strong Men of God Seminars over the years.

In 2014 Deacon Ken went home to be with our Lord. He is tremendously missed by his wife and all in St. Dismas Guild pray for his intercession so the Guild may continue its mission.

St. Dismas Guild continues to grow and currently distributes the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study along with other Catholic publications to over 200 prisoners every month at no cost to the prisoners. In addition to providing books to the prisoners, St. Dismas Guild distributes a monthly newsletter containing testimonies to a mailing list of almost 4,500. The printed testimonies are just a sample of the numerous letters the Guild receives from those who have experienced healing through the word of God and their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

One success story is from Frank. His story began at 14 years of age…alcohol and drugs gave way to heroin and cocaine which brought him to his knees. His journey continued for 20 years. He had overdosed a few times, tried many inpatient secular programs and ended up in jail in a cell with someone charged with murdering a 16 year old girl. This was not the life he wanted, but it had such a stranglehold on him. It was Deacon Ken and Marie, who both provided spiritual support. Frank grew up Catholic, and believed in God but never really gave it much thought. For the first month, he thought he was going to die going through drug withdrawal cold turkey. He started reading the bible and said that everything in it pertained to today’s life. It had all the answers…he was totally amazed. Frank has been clean for 25 years and can’t stop thanking God. Here is a quote from Frank, “It’s such a blessing knowing that I can call out to Him at any time and He will fulfill all my needs. Can you imagine having someone to take all your problems away. It’s just a matter of opening up and letting Him in. When Christ comes into your life there will be nothing you can’t achieve.”

Donations to help us send free resources to prisoners
or those who cannot afford them
may be made out to:
St. Dismas Guild, PO Box 2129, Escondido CA 92033