Bringing good news to detainees

  • Written by Brian LeBlanc
  • Published in Local
Parishioners at Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup donate their copies of Northwest Catholic magazine for immigration detainees in Tacoma. Photo: Dahlia Saltos Parishioners at Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup donate their copies of Northwest Catholic magazine for immigration detainees in Tacoma. Photo: Dahlia Saltos

PUYALLUP - After reading Northwest Catholic magazine, you can recycle your copy by passing it on — to immigration detainees in Tacoma.

“I see hungry faces in there for God,” said Esmeralda Saltos of Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup, who ministers to the men and women at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center awaiting word on their immigration status.

Most of the detainees at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility are Hispanic and don’t read English, she said. They are “very happy” to get a copy of Northwest Catholic, with its section printed in Spanish, explained Saltos, the lead volunteer and pastoral programming coordinator for the Catholic program at the detention center. The 13-year-old ministry is administered by the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Pastoral Care office.

Each week, Saltos and other volunteers conduct six Spanish-language Communion services at the center. The attendance averages 100 detainees, nearly all of them Hispanic, Saltos said. Shortly after she began volunteering with the program in October 2013, Saltos was asked to lead some of the services. Saltos said she was nervous, but “the Holy Spirit just helped me — I just pulled it through.” Since February, program volunteers have distributed at least 400 Bibles to the detainees, in addition to prayer cards, rosaries and religious reading material.

Earlier this summer, Saltos decided to start collecting copies of Northwest Catholic, the archdiocese’s magazine, for the detainees. So far, her fellow parishioners at Holy Disciples have donated an average of 20 magazines a week, and Saltos hopes to get other parishes to join the effort.

Passing along a magazine may not seem like much, but it can create “a huge difference” for the detainees, Saltos said. “It’s little for us, but it makes an impact.”


Pass along the good news
Esmeralda Saltos is asking other parishes to join her effort by collecting back issues of Northwest Catholic magazine for immigration detainees in Tacoma.

Saltos removes the address labels before distributing them at the federal detention center. For more information about magazine donations, contact Saltos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn about volunteering for the immigration detention ministry, contact Erica Cohen Moore at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Care office, 206-382-4852 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..