The gospels show us that Jesus reached out to those in need. His life is a model for how we should interact with others. One way to do this is through the Corporal Works of Mercy. Consider looking at these and doing one with the Catholic youth in your life.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are acts of charity which show our love for those on the margins. There are many ways to implement these in your family, youth ministry, or youth group. Here are some ideas.
Feed the Hungry
- Hold a canned food drive for a local food pantry.
- Cook and serve a meal at a soup kitchen.
- Raise money for a charity which serves the hungry in a third world country.
Give Drink to the Thirsty
- Donate to a project which is building wells in third world countries. A chapter of Engineers Without Borders at a local university is a good place to start.
- Stop taking water for granted. Try not to waste water in your home. Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth. Limit your time in the shower.
Shelter the Homeless
- Do a drive for your local homeless shelter. Find out what they need first. Items like blankets, backpacks, and tents are typical.
- Get involved in a home building project for Habitat for Humanity or a similar organization in your area.
- Have a sleep out for a local shelter. Spend the night outdoors with no shelter but a cardboard box or sleeping bag, eat little or no food, and collect pledges for a local homeless shelter.
Visit the Sick
- Collect video games or toys for your local children’s hospital. Deliver them and visit with some of the patients there.
- Play games with the elderly at a nursing home.
- Organize a blood drive at your parish.
- Bake cookies and take them to the shut-ins at your parish.
Visit Those in Prison
- Contact a local prison ministry and find out if there are crafts you can provide for an upcoming retreat. Decorate placemats or make paper chains with messages of affirmation.
- Find a charity which supports children whose parents are in prison and find out how you can help.
- Write letters to your local politicians asking them to oppose the death penalty in your state.
Bury the Dead
- Do a cleanup project or participate in a wreath laying or flag decorating event at a local cemetery.
- Go to a wake or funeral mass of someone from your parish, even if you didn’t know them well.
- Visit a cemetery.
- Make a card or baked goods for a recent widow or widower.
Give Alms to the Poor
- Give up a treat you enjoy for a few days and donate the money you saved to a local charity which serves the poor.
- Volunteer at a local charity which serves the poor.
- Do a clothing drive for a local charity. Give at least one item of your own which you really like.