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Not long before Christmas I spent the morning at a remarkable residence called the Ignacio House, named after St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Shepherded by Father Zach Presutti, himself an “S.J.” — a member of the Society of Jesus, AKA the Jesuits — the bright, clean, welcoming house in the Bronx is home to about 20 parolees.
When these men got out of prison, they really had no place to go. Often alienated from family and past friends, the temptation was to go back to the company or the gangs that led to their lock-up.
That’s where Ignacio House comes in, as these men now belong as members of this community. After Mass, in enjoyable conversations with them, I listened to what they most relished in their “halfway house.” Yes, the fraternity; the opportunity for ongoing counseling and continued fidelity to their recovery programs; the duties they shared in the house; and, the opportunity for education, job training, and even a college degree.
Timothy Dolan, former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the cardinal archbishop of New York. (New York