(RNS) — Dale Recinella, a Catholic lay chaplain on Florida’s death row, was awarded the first-ever Guardian of Life Award from the Pontifical Academy of Life on Tuesday (Sept. 28). Recinella, the first-ever recipient of the new award, accepted the honor at the academy’s general assembly in Rome.
For more than two decades, Recinella had been offering pastoral care and religious education to inmates in solitary confinement at Florida State Prison in Raiford, near Jacksonville, which houses the second-largest death row population in the United States.
He also provided deathwatch ministry to those awaiting scheduled executions. This work included spiritual preparations on the day of execution, accompanying inmates to their final goodbye with loved ones, presence at execution and pastoral care for the family post-execution.