James (Jim) Kott

Year Joined MKLM: 2015
Country: Brazil
City: São Paulo
Focus: Education, Pastoral Care
Project(s): Homeless and Prison Ministries
People Served: Prisoners and Homeless

Project Goal(s):  Share Gospel Values with the marginalized in São Paulo Brazil

Current Ministry:

Jim is engaged in mission in six São Paulo prisons and a homeless ministry in the center of the city. He ministers to both men and women on the streets and in the prisons. Many of the women prisoners he meets with are from other countries and do not have family or friends to visit them, and many only speak English.

Jim’s ministries provide the incarcerated and homeless with quality human contact and chance to think, pray, and reflect on God’s presence in their lives. He also teaches a basic English class in the prisons using Gospel Values. The class provides a positive environment and increases his students’ self-esteem.

Jim reflects: “‘I was a prisoner and you visited me; I was hungry and you fed me.’ This quote from the Bible drives my mission. We try to reinforce to the Sao Paulo homeless and Brazilian prisoners that they are like the three kings who set out on a Camino to find Jesus. Even though they are in a dark and violent place, they still have presents to offer, as the Magi did for the Christ Child. Their presents, such as peace, love, wisdom, and understanding, make an incredible difference in the lives of their families on the outside and the lives of each other on the inside. They also give their presents of hospitality and friendship to us when we visit. It’s a wonderful relationship!”

Jim also emphasizes to the marginalized of São Paulo that they are not forgotten by us or the Catholic Church. We are all on the same Camino together and will walk with them as they struggle to find meaning in life.

Personal Data:

Jim is from Palatine, IL. He has a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University, a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Military Science from Air University. Jim is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and served in Germany, Japan, the Middle East and the USA. He volunteered in homeless outreach, taught English to immigrants and helped with parish ministries before joining MKLM. Jim’s wife, Marilyn, is also a Maryknoll lay missioner in Brazil.