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What is MOTC?


The Ministry of the Third Cross (MOTC) is a retreat ministry for persons in the criminal justice system. Through the weekend retreats, attendees experience the love of Jesus Christ within a Spirit filled, supportive, community environment. The retreats are times of reflection, repentance and renewal.


In 1997, a Retreat was offered for young, “high risk” male felony probationers in Bexar County Department of Supervision and Corrections’ Young Offender Program (YOP). YOP was a federally supported program that included a faith-based component for the probationer’s rehabilitation plan with the overall objective to decrease recidivism. The MOTC grew from YOP and is now a state- recognized not-for-profit program open to persons on probation, parole, or in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)

“I didn’t want to go on the retreat but it sounded better than trash picking on the highway {community service option}. I was surprised by how these people seemed to really care about me and all of us on the retreat. It is still hard for me to stay on track but MOTC and Jesus help me.” M.E., Retreatant

Who attends MOTC retreats?


MOTC retreats are held for youth, men, and women in the criminal justice system, primarily in Bexar County; however we have now moved to the Corpus Christi area. Some retreats for the participants in the TJJD have been held at TJJD prisons as well. MOTC’s work with Bexar County judges has resulted in referrals from judges for probationers under their supervision; these persons are often offered the opportunity to attend a MOTC retreat as part of their community service. Recently, MOTC has grown to include separate retreats for persons who have been recently paroled from the Texas Department of Corrections to Bexar County.


Attendees of MOTC retreats are encouraged to maintain mentoring relationships with retreat team members as they continue their faith journeys after the retreats. To encourage continued follow-up, reinforce the conversion experience, and increase life skills training, MOTC sponsors monthly reunions open to any past retreatants.

MOTC retreat attendees are highly encouraged to continue working with MOTC through serving on a future MOTC retreat.

When these women started smiling at us, and singing, and talking to us, I did not think they were real. They are real, and they keep doing these retreats. I have been on a team now, and I am glad to help show other people that you can change your life. ”D. F., Retreatant


On my first retreat with MOTC, I could not comprehend how much more the Holy Spirit was truly present than any of my many previous parish ACTS retreats. I was truly Blessed by this experience and will devote my time to continuing this ministry and what it represents for the women in the criminal justice system. An opportunity for our Lord to be present in their life and mine in a way I never envisioned. Thank you Lord. First time MOTC Team Member

MOTC Support


MOTC is supported through charitable donations and fund-raising. MOTC is not aligned with any single parish or benefactor. MOTC has a working relationship with Haven for Hope, the Center for Health Care Services, and Our Lady of the Lake University, Oblate School of Theology, and the University of the Incarnate Word to name a few. MOTC raises funds primarily thorough two annual charitable events: a golf tournament in the spring and an Annual Appeal in the fall.

MOTC welcomes ongoing donations to continue its evangelical ministry. The average cost of a retreat is approximately $8000. Retreat Directors are responsible for raising funds to support the overhead costs of their retreats.

MOTC Outreach


From 1997- to current, MOTC has provided over 100 retreats, reaching nearly 3200 persons in the criminal justice system. Over 1500 men and women from numerous parishes in the San Antonio archdiocese have offered their service to MOTC.

I never thought that I would sit beside a convicted criminal and hear his story and recognize myself in his words and pain. MOTC has opened my world beyond my parish ministry and broadened my view of how to serve my God. ”T.J., Retreat team member.


"In my life, would I ever think I would be involved in this ministry - NO - in Law Enforcement for over 30 years, I spent my life placing people behind bars. The grace of God and His Love for me revealed His true purpose for the rest of my life - TO LOVE OTHERS as HE has LOVED me! " First time MOTC Team Member

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