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Corporal Works Of Mercy : Take advantage of daily opportunities to help

The call to help our fellow man through specific acts of mercy comes straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus says those who are welcomed into heaven will be the ones who helped Him when He was hungry, sick or thirsty; who gave Him clothes, welcomed Him as a stranger and visited Him in prison. Of course His followers want to know when they ever denied their Lord, and Jesus replies, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

That call to help each other out in times of need has not changed or faded.

“The corporal works of mercy are our physical way of living life for our Lord,” said Elena Ziegler, director of religious education at St. Anne Church in Rock Hill. “We continue His work by caring for those who need care.”

Ziegler and other religious education leaders discussed practical ways to engage people in corporal and spiritual works of mercy at a recent workshop. Some of the items on the corporal works of mercy list are simple to engage in, but others can seem daunting, such as the edict to visit the imprisoned.

One simple way to reach out to those in prison is by sending letters and cards, Ziegler said. People can also offer support to the families of prisoners, or even bake cookies for Kairos Prison Ministry.

Second graders at St. Peter's Catholic School in Columbia perform a skit for residents of Summit Place nursing home in October 2015 as part of their Corporal Works of Mercy program.

Second graders at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Columbia perform a skit for residents of Summit Place nursing home in October 2015 as part of their Corporal Works of Mercy program.

Another suggestion comes from Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who talks about the different forms of imprisonment in one of the recent Mercy Minutes videos for the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. The bishop notes that people can be imprisoned by addictions, or mental walls such as the inability to let go of a grudge.

“Faith is a freeing force,” he said, and encourages everyone to reach out in compassion and prayer to those who are shackled in prisons of their own making.

At St. Peter School in Beaufort, the entire school participates in the corporal works of mercy. Ann Feltner, principal, said each grade is assigned a specific mercy and they spend the year finding ways to reach out to that group.

For example, the fifth and sixth grade students are in charge of the corporal work “bury the dead.” The sixth-grade altar servers train once a month to serve at funerals. The students also keep the columbarium clean and send notes to family members whose loved ones have died.

Ziegler said people can join in this corporal work by attending parish funerals and offering the comfort of their presence. They can also volunteer at a hospice or take friends and neighbors to visit the cemetery.

The best way to find ideas on how to be involved or specific places that need help is to call your local church, Ziegler said. They will have a list of ideas and can also direct you to the nearest outreach center or Catholic Charities office.

Sometimes, however, being involved in corporal works is simply a matter of being aware of ways to help and taking advantage of daily opportunities, she said.

  • Each time you’re at the grocery story, buy some extra items for a food pantry.
  • Take a few minutes to go through your closet and pull out extra coats, clothes and shoes for those in need.
  • Gather stuffed animals, toys and activities for a children’s hospital.

“Mercy was shown to us, we need to pass it on,” Ziegler said.

 


 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry — There are many people in this world who go without food.  When so much of our food goes to waste, practice good stewardship of your own food habits.  |  www.themiscellany.org

Feed the hungry

There are many people in this world who go without food.  When so much of our food goes to waste, practice good stewardship of your own food habits.

How to do it

  • Donate to a food drive.
  • Contribute financially to organizations that serve the hungry, such as Catholic Relief Services.
  • When cooking, make a double batch and donate one to your local food pantry or soup kitchen.

Contact your church or local Catholic Charities office for ways to help and information about upcoming food and clothing drives.

 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Give drink to the thirsty — Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity.  | www.themiscellany.org

 Give drink to the thirsty

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity.

How to do it

  • Donate to help build wells for those in need.
  • Collect reusable water tumblers and give them to an outreach center or shelter.
  • Don’t waste water. Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes.

Contact Catholic Relief Services, 888-277-7575 or www.crs.org.

 

Corporal Works: Clothe the naked — Many people don’t have sufficient funds to buy warm clothing each year, or keep their growing children in shoes and clothes.  |  www.themiscellany.org

Clothe the naked

Many people don’t have sufficient funds to buy warm clothing each year, or keep their growing children in shoes and clothes.

How to do it

  • Go through your drawers and closets and find good-condition clothes and shoes to donate to agencies that provide assistance for those in need.
  • Participate in programs that provide towels and linens for hospitals in distressed areas.
  • Support the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Contact your local St. Vincent de Paul Society.

 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Shelter the homeless — There are many circumstances that could lead someone to become a person without a home. Christ encourages us to go out and meet those people to help.

Shelter the homeless

There are many circumstances that could lead someone to become a person without a home.  Christ encourages us to go out and meet those people to help.

How to do it

  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter.
  • Donate time or money to organizations that build homes for those who need shelter.
  • Educate yourself and others about the millions of children and families fleeing from war, illness, hunger and impossible living conditions.

Contact Home Works of America, 803-781-4536 or www.homeworksofamerica.org.

 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Visit the sick — Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided. In spite of their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who visit them.  |  www.themiscellany.org

Visit the sick

Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided.  In spite of their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who visit them.

How to do it

  • Give blood.
  • Volunteer at a nursing home and use your talents — sing, read, paint, call Bingo, etc.
  • Visit an elderly neighbor or take them to lunch or to run errands.
  • Offer to assist caregivers of chronically sick family members. Even an hour helps.

Contact your church for a prayer list or to help prepare food for sick parishioners.

 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Visit the prisoners — People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve the opportunity to hear the Word and find the truth of the message of Christ.  |  www.themiscellany.org

Visit the prisoners

People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve the opportunity to hear the Word and find the truth of the message of Christ.

How to do it

  • See if your parish, or one nearby, has a prison ministry and if so, become involved.
  • Volunteer to help out or donate to charities that give Christmas presents to children whose parents are in prison.
  • Support efforts that seek the abolition of the death penalty.

Contact the diocesan office of prison ministry, 803-772-7400 or www.sccatholic.org/prison-ministry.

 

Corporal Works of Mercy: Bury the dead — Funerals provide an opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions, we show our respect for life.  |  www.themiscellany.org

Bury the dead

Funerals provide an opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions, we show our respect for life.

How to do it

  • Send a card to someone who has recently lost a loved one or have children make cards.
  • Visit the cemetery and pray for those you have lost.
  • Participate in a bereavement ministry, and spend time with widows and widowers.

Contact your parish for suggestions on how to help.






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