My name is Nicole Bazis and I am a Roman Catholic woman in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In August of 2019, I began working full-time for the Church as a staff member in parish ministry. It is through God’s Divine Providence that I had found my way to this position. A part from the sacred work that comes with serving the members of Christ’s Church, God allows me to use my job as a means to meet new people and to be introduced to exciting opportunities.
The ISAAC STATEMENT is a fruit that grew out of one such Spirit-led opportunity.
After several months of being at my parish, I was connected to the Archdiocesan Director for Evangelization. A few months after that initial meeting, I received an email from our Director inviting me to apply for “The GIVEN Institute’s Leadership Forum”. The Forum is designed to equip young adult Catholic women with the resources and mentorship necessary to bring alive new Christ-centered projects and/or ministries.
It was in the process of filling out that application that the Holy Spirit spoke earnestly. I had already been made aware of my passion for prison ministry, advocacy for the rights of the imprisoned, and the abolishment of the death penalty. However, I didn’t know what steps to take to make an impact. I didn’t know how to live out the truths of my faith. In creating my “action plan” for The GIVEN Forum, I heard what God was saying: my ministry was to address the problem that I was now facing.
The silence is loud.
I believe that God wants us to break into the silence with the Truth of our convictions: that by executing a human, and by condoning the act of execution, we ourselves become murderers. Our God is a God of life. Our God is a God of love. Our God is a God of mercy. We, the humble and sinful disciples of Christ, are tasked with walking in the Way of our Lord. Though it is not always easy, the burden of the Cross – the Cross we are commanded to carry throughout all the days of our lives – is a burden of self that exists to alleviate the misery, sorrow, and pain of others. Jesus carried the burden of his Cross so to conquer death and to bring forth life for all people. As Christians, we can not confidently profess our faith while remaining casual spectators to a culture of death.
My prayer is that the ISAAC STATEMENT can continue to grow in its mission. I pray that the work to abolish the death penalty may be a joint effort. I pray for courageous conversations. I pray for compassion, a Church-wide renewal in the corporal works of mercy, and an end to desensitized attitudes toward those who are imprisoned. I pray that the ISAAC STATEMENT can offer parishes educational, religious, and instructional resources for parishioner participation in prison ministry and to encourage advocacy for the abolishment of the death penalty.