CNN Profile of Catholic Death Row Ministry founder

In the February 2010 issue of U.S. Catholic, Frisco, Texas resident Michael Denson, founder of the Catholic Death Row Ministry was profiled.


As a child, Denson’s mother wrote to prison inmates, which helped instill the lessons of Christian compassion into the now 41 year old rancher and father of two. In one such instance, Denson asked his mother to write a letter on his behalf to Gary Gilmore, a Utah death row inmate who was executed by a firing squad in 1977. The FBI called Denson’s mother reporting that her son had written a letter to Gilmore saying “‘he wanted the inmate to meet his dad when he went to heaven.’ Deson chuckles, ‘my dad died when I was 5, and since it seemed certain that this man was going to die, too, I was hoping he’d look for my dad.'”

Denson’s ministry has slightly more than 15 volunteers around the country who write letters of support and make visits to inmates in maximum-security prisons. According the Denson, his volunteers have written or visited some 1,400 prisoners. Denson has also witnessed four executions, at the request of the inmates or family members of victims, yet he has not experienced the feeling of closure he is continuously promised.



Denson’s ministry has the blessing of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, however he knows that his outreach is far less popular than others. According to Denson, he never executed that many like minded people would share his passion for bringing hope to people who have destroyed hope for others, however he felt is was something he was called to do. “The general attitude is ‘Let’s kill them, and let’s kill them as quick as we can.’ I don’t judge others for holding that opinion, but it doesn’t work for me.”

The article in its entirety is available here.


A CNN profile of Michael Denson is available here.