Year of Mercy


Pope Francis has declared Dec 8, 2015 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) to Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 (Feast of Christ the King) as an “Extraordinary Jubilee year of Mercy.”  In short, the pope is asking all of us to pay special attention to God’s Mercy.  He hopes many good things will come out of this year but two things are especially important to him.  First, he hopes that all Catholics will experience and treasure the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the awesome gift of God’s Mercy that it is.  Secondly, he wants all of us to pay attention to our own expressions of mercy.

Mercy is showing compassion to someone in difficulty.  The actions can be monumental or minor.  They might be exceptional or common.  The important key is that we are paying attention to others and responding out of compassion. Jesus himself highlighted compassionate responses when he spoke of judgment in Matthew’s gospel; I was hungry and you fed me; thirsty – drink; homeless  shelter; sick – care; etc.  It is even an Old Testament theme —  “It is mercy i desire and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6)


The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are our tradition’s reminder that it is not enough to “avoid evil.”  We also have to “do good.”  Here are the Works of Mercy:

The Corporal Works of Mercy                     The Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. Feed the hungry                                     9. Admonish the sinner
  2. Give drink to the thirsty                           10. Instruct the ignorant
  3. Clothe the naked                                     11. Counsel the doubtful
  4. Shelter the homeless                               12. Comfort the sorrowful
  5. Visit the sick                                             13. Bear wrongs patiently
  6. Visit the imprisoned                                  14. Forgive injuries
  7. Bury the dead                                           15. Pray for the living & dead
  8. Pick one from Corporal List                       16. Pick one from Spiritual List




We added the numbers to the list so we could have them correspond to our spinning wheel.  We thought that the entire list was too much to deal with at one time so we created a wheel that we spin once a week.  The Work of Mercy on the list that corresponds to the number on the wheel is our focus for the week.  We have a log to keep track of our actions and we have a list that gives us lots of ideas on things we can do.  (The list is given below – keep scrolling) We hope this list will continue to grow as folks from our community share ideas –  Just email them to me when you have an idea to add. — Don;t be shy — send those ideas in!!!








 1. Feed the Hungry

* Help plan, prepare and clean up a family meal

* Randomly pick a classmate. Provide that person’s lunch

* Spend 1 hour researching and learning about area food pantries

* Skip one meal. Donate the money to a charity that serves food.

* Buy Granola Bars, Macdonald’s certificates or something like that to give roadside beggars.

* Plan a meal for 4. Talk a few friends into joining you in a fast to feed the hungry. When you have enough money, purchase the food and donate it to Feed My People.

* Organize a food drive in your group.. Deliver the food yourself. (Ask Mr Cooper if you need help connecting with a pantry.)

* Go grocery shopping with your parents. Pay careful attention to the cost . Say, ”Thank You.”

* Pay careful attention to the nutritional value of everything you eat. Evaluate how well you are actually feeding yourself.

* As a family, make and deliver a meal for someone you know experiencing a hard time

Spend one hour researching world hunger



2. Give Drink to the Thirsty

* Keep water bottles in your car to give roadside beggars

* Conduct a lemonade (hot chocolate, whatever) stand accepting donations to donate to a water project like Shoeman, or CRS projects.

* Spend one hour researching clean water concerns around the world.

* Offer a bottle of water to a work person (Delivery person, construction worker, etc)

* Donate baby formula to a food pantry or pregnancy help center

* Work a drink station at a charity race or other event.

* Pay for the drink for the person behind you in line somewhere.

* Let others go ahead of you at the drinking fountain

* Be extremely conscious of water for one whole day. Conserve as much as you can. What could your family do to use less water? Share you ideas with your family.



3. Clothe the Naked

* Go through your closet. Donate clothes to Good Will, SVDP, Children’s Society or other.

* Organize a “clothing cleanout” with your friends and/or neighbors

* Learn to knit or crochet. Make scarves, hats, blankets for a pregnancy help center.

* Help with the laundry at home



4. Shelter the Homeless

* Spend one hour researching homeless assistance in St. Louis.

* Gather personal care items to donate to a homeless shelter

* Go to lunch at McMurphy’s Café – then visit St Patrick’s Center

* Spend one-hour researching the adoption process

* Help your parents care for your home (cleaning or other chores.)



5. Visit the Sick

* Send a cheerful note or card to someone you know who is ill.

* Send a hopeful note to someone on SMA’s sick list in the bulletin

* Complete several “Messages of Hope” for Cardinal Glennon Hospital

* Spend one hour researching services to the homebound

* Go along on a Sunday morning Communion call


6. Visit the imprisoned

* Bake some cookies and take them to an elderly person in your neighborhood who does not get out very often

* Spend one hour researching services for prisoners and halfway houses

* Spend one hour researching services for troubled children

* Make placemats with encouraging, faith-filled messages on them   (crayon or markers only)

* Make prayer links for a chain (1.25” wide by 11” long). Say a prayer for each link

* Call a nursing home. Ask for the name of someone who gets very few visitors. Make cards, decorations and a care package for that person. Go to visit with your goodies.


7. Bury the Dead

* Send a sympathy and prayers note to the family of someone who recently died

* Prepare a dish for a Martha’s luncheon

* Help a widow/widower with some yardwork (or other) and then visit with them

* Visit a family cemetery plot. Share stories and pray for them

* Say a rosary for the victims of abortion and an end to abortion


8.  Select an Corporal Work of Mercy (Perhaps one that has not come yet or less frequently)




9. Admonish the Sinner

* When you see someone clearly going wrong, say what would be the right thing to do and set the example by doing it.

* When you feel something is wrong, first say a prayer to the Holy Spirit, then say what you feel and then say what you think would be right.

* When a someone is in the wrong tell them about the grace, mrcy and forgiveness avail able in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


10. Instruct the ignorant

* When you understand something others do not, express patience and encouragement as you help them understand it too.

* Serve as a tutor or homework aide



11. Counsel the Doubtful

* When someone is unsure about what to do in a situation, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and then say what you think would be the most “loving and right” thing to do

* Avoid pessimism – Be optimistic. Avoid skepticism – Be Hopeful. — in all things!


12. Comfort the Sorrowful

* When someone is sad and probably feeling lonely, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and then listen patiently offering words that let that person know you are there for them.


13. Bear Wrongs Patiently

* When things go wrong first say a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for patience. Do not complain. Ask yourself what can you do to make the situation better. Then do it!

* When you feel like criticizing, stop. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit, give the benefit of the doubt and look for something to compliment.


14. Forgive Injuries

* When someone sins against you first say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and ask for the courage and ability to forgive that person. Pray for that person

* When someone hurts you, get interested in that person. Learn all you can about them. What you learn will probably change what you think about them.


15. Pray for the Living and the Dead

* Make a list of deceased family members. Say a prayer for each one.

* Read the obituaries in the newspaper. Say a prayer for the people listed their and their families.

When you hear a police car, ambulance, or fire truck siren, pray a Hail Mary for the officers, paramedics and anyone involved

* When you pass a funeral home with a parking lot full of cars, pray for the soul of the deceased person, as well as that person’s family and friends.

* When you do laundry, prepare a meal, take a shower, or go to bed at night, ask God to comfort those who don’t have clothes to wash, food to eat, running water to use, or a bed to sleep in.

* When you see a cemetery, pray for the souls of the people who are buried there, as well as the souls of your loved ones who have passed away.

*When you see a sunrise or sunset, smell fresh baked cookies, hear your favorite song, or taste something delicious, pray for those who are blind, deaf, or unable to experience life through their senses.

* When you are impatient, frustrated, or going through a struggle in your life, pray for the poor souls in purgatory who are patiently, painfully awaiting their entrance into heaven.

* Sometime during November—the month devoted to praying for the deceased—pray a novena specifically for the souls in purgatory. (You can find various novenas and short prayers for the souls in purgatory online.)


16.  Select an Spiritual Work of Mercy (Perhaps one that has not come yet or less frequently)