Derek Elledge is anointed with the Oil of Catechumens by Deacon Michael Charchaflian during his baptism at Middlesex House of Correction, Sept. 1. (Courtesy photo)

Prison Ministry Brings Middlesex Inmate to Baptism


By Mark Labbe

BILLERICA, Mass. (The Pilot)– Derek Elledge didn’t know if he had been baptized as a child, but to him, that didn’t really matter. What he did know was that now, as a middle-aged adult, he heard the Holy Spirit calling him, and it was calling him to enter the Catholic faith. While Elledge’s story may seem a familiar one, what sets his apart is where his faith journey took place – not in a local parish, but in the Middlesex House of Correction. For the past 13 months, Derek Elledge had been in custody. About two months of that time was spent in Worcester County Jail, and the rest was spent in the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica, in the jail’s housing unit for military veterans. He received the Sacrament of Baptism September 1, ten days before his release, from chaplain Deacon Michael Charchaflian, in the presence of a number of his fellow inmates. For Elledge, the decision to enter the faith came suddenly. Speaking to The Pilot by telephone September 7, Elledge said that when he first heard church services were being offered, “The spirit just moved me” to attend them. “I hadn’t given it any forethought or anything; I just decided I was going to go to church,” he said during the phone call that also included Deacon Charchaflian and Middlesex Sheriff’s Office public information officer Kevin Maccioli.


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