Corporal Works of Mercy

  • aThe Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise.  They "are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs" (Catechism of the Catholic Church).  They respond to the basic needs of all the members of Christ’s Body as we journey together through this life.

    During the 2022-2023 school year, our students and faculty will focus on not only learning what the corporal works of mercy are but how to make them a part of our lives not just this year but for the rest of our lives.  In order to do this, we have designated one corporal work of mercy to be introduced monthly to our student body in our school-wide prayers, Eucharistic liturgies, prayer services in the chapel to include Eucharistic Adoration, service projects, and classroom discussions.  

    The list of the Corporal Works of Mercy as they will be lived out this year are:

    • August:  What are the Works of Mercy
    • September:  Give Drink to the Thirsty
    • October:  Bury the Dead
    • November:  Feed the Hungry
    • January:  Shelter the Homeless
    • February:  Visit the Imprisoned
    • March:  Feed the Hungry
    • April:  Clothe the Naked
    • May:  Visit the Sick

    During the month of December, you may notice that we do not have a corporal work of mercy listed.  However, during December our students and their families work to support Operation St. Nicholas, a charitable drive that collects toy-filled stockings for the students of our Partner in Education schools, Oakcrest Elementary and Global Learning Academy.  Also, two months repeat “Feed the Hungry” because in November our Student Council sponsors our annual Food Drive which collects over 40,000 canned food items to support our local food pantries while in March, during Lent, we, through our Religion classes, make monetary donations to serve the poorest of the poor through Operation Rice Bowl.

    At home, you, too, can learn more about the Corporal Works of Mercy and infuse them into your family life. How?  Not only does the USCCB and the Catechism contain many materials related to the Corporal Works of Mercy, but here are some other suggestions adapted from Hands for Home.  

    FEED THE HUNGRY—There are many people in this world who go without food. When so much of our food goes to waste, consider how good stewardship practices of your own food habits can benefit others who do not have those same resources.

    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. We should support the efforts of those working towards greater accessibility of this essential resource and also help push forward legislation which would ensure all Americans have access to safe, clean drinking water.

    SHELTER THE HOMELESS—There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home. Christ encourages us to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them seek a resolution to the challenges they face. Supporting agencies like the Alfred Washburn Center are a good way for you to help care for the homeless in our area.  

    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 take the time to visit and comfort them. 
    Consider writing cards to be put on the lunch trays of those living in nursing homes or getting together as a family to prepare a meal for those who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

    VISIT THE IMPRISONED—People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.   Prisons are often seeking donations of Bible. Perhaps you and your family could donate to the Dismas Ministry or learn more about the role they play for those imprisoned.  

    BURY THE DEAD—Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions during these times we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn. Consider if your church has a ministry for providing meals for the bereaved or after funerals and volunteer to support them as you can.

    CLOTHE THE NAKED—Donate new needed clothing or money to organizations that have the ability to provide support and services for those in need. “Clothing” means more than just the “shirt on your back.” Do research and find organizations that put people in need first, rather than profit.