Archdiocesan Works of Mercy Service Project


Archdiocesan Works of Mercy Service Project

All parishes are asked to be part of an archdiocesan-wide witness of mercy during the Year of Mercy.

Seven weeks throughout 2016 have been designated as “Work Weeks” in which parishes perform a specific Corporal Work of Mercy. Parishes will choose how to perform each work of mercy in a manner that meets the unique needs of their broader community. Parishes will perform the works in solidarity with one another during each designated week.  The designated work for each of the seven weeks corresponds to the Sunday readings.

For example, the week of January 17, 2016 is designated throughout the archdiocese as the week to “Give drink to the thirsty.” In that Sunday’s Gospel (Jn 2: 1-11) Jesus changes water to wine, providing for the thirsty but also beginning a public ministry which responds to our thirst for God. Parishes may choose their own service project or use an idea provided by the archdiocese. Dates and Corporal Works of Mercy ideas are below.

Additionally, each parish is asked to identify one Corporal Work of Mercy to perform throughout the year.

Summary of the Seven Weeks (including thought starters and project ideas):

[expand title=”January 17, 2016: Give drink to the thirsty”]

Liturgical Calendar:

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:

Is 62: 1-5/ Ps 96: 1-2. 2-3. 7-8. 9-10 (3)/ 1 Cor 12: 4-11/ Jn 2: 1-11

Thought Starter:

In the gospel Jesus changes water to wine, providing for the thirsty but also beginning a public ministry which responds to our thirst for God.

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Support clean water policies

Use environmentally friendly laundry detergent

Moderate amounts of water for showers, brushing teeth and rinsing dishes

Don’t purchase bottled water-use water bottles

Contribute to Franciscan Sister Water project

Donate baby formula to shelters and food pantry

Educate, donate or work this Catholic Relief Services’ ArborLoo project.



[expand title=”February 28, 2016:  Visit Imprisoned”]

Liturgical Calendar:

3rd Sunday of Lent

Scripture Readings:

Ex3: 1-8a. 13-15/ Ps 103: 1-2. 3-4. 6-7. 8. 11 (8a)/ 1 Cor 10: 1-6. 10-12/ Lk 13: 1-9

Thought Starter:

Moses, who was banished to the desert as a criminal, finds strength in God’s call, and sets out to free the enslaved and imprisoned in Egypt.

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Schedule presentations on Restorative Justice and Catholic Charities Jail and Prison Programs in their area.

Share newspapers/magazines

Pray for imprisoned

Donate books to prisons

Support and/or participate in ministries to those who are incarcerated;

Support programs sponsored by agencies that advocate on behalf of those who are unjustly imprisoned;

Support job-training and educational programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners

Pray for the families of inmates;

Support programs that provide holiday gifts for prisoners and their families;

Support efforts that seek the abolition of the death penalty.

Visit those “imprisoned” in their homes, care centers, etc. where they are unable to move about freely

Bring Eucharist to homebound

Bring elderly to Mass



[expand title=”April 10, 2016: Feed the hungry”]

Liturgical Calendar:

3rd Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings:


Acts 5: 27-32. 40b-41/ Ps 30: 2. 4. 5-6. 11-12. 13 (2a)/ Rv 5: 11-14/ Jn 21: 1-19

Thought Starter:

In the gospel, the risen Jesus feed the Apostle fish and them charges them to “feed my sheep”

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Educate self and family regarding world hunger

Write to politicians regarding world hunger

Volunteer at a soup kitchen-donate-serve-visit with guests

Plant neighborhood gardens

“Pay it forward” at a drive through

Donate some of your garden produce to a food pantry

Attend to the proper nutrition of your loved ones,

Support and volunteer for food pantries, soup kitchens, and agencies that feed the hungry;

Make a few sandwiches to hand out as you walk through areas where you might encounter people in need;

Avoid wasting food

Participate in Bread for the World ( letter writing to leaders. (This would also serve as a great example to students the importance of reaching out to elected leaders.)

Share your meals with others especially those who live alone.



[expand title=”July 10, 2016: Clothe the naked”]

Liturgical Calendar:

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:


Dt 30: 10-14/ Ps 69: 14. 17. 30-31. 33-34. 36. 37/ Col 1: 15-20/ Lk 10: 25-37

Thought Starter:

A man fell victim to robbers who  stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. The Samaritan cared for his needs

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Clothing drives to St. Vincent’s, Goodwill, and Thrift Shops

Contribute money for diapers

Donate Diapers to food pantry or shelters

Check with schools. Do families need coats, boots, shoes, socks, school uniforms etc.?

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.

Volunteer to work at a clothing drive or at a shelter where clothing is distributed to those in need.



[expand title=”August 28, 2016: Shelter the homeless”]

Liturgical Calendar:

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:


Sir 3: 17-18. 20. 28-29/ Ps 68: 4-5. 6-7. 10-11/ Heb 12: 18-19. 22-24a/ Lk 14: 1. 7-14

Thought Starter:

God in goodness made a home for poor (R)  Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Habitat for Humanity

Volunteer time/give money to a homeless shelter

Volunteer with Big Brother Big Sister programs

Contribute linens, blankets, and towels to shelters

Donate shampoo, soap, and deodorant to shelters

Speak to city officials regarding poor landlord issues

Provide housing/furniture for immigrants

Get to know your neighbors

Help pay others utility bills via your utility company

Help neighbors care for their homes and do repairs;

Support and/or volunteer for charitable agencies that care for the homeless, build homes, and provide support in the wake of natural disasters;

Advocate for public policies and legislation that provide housing for low-income people;

Consider becoming a foster parent.



[expand title=”October 9, 2016: Visit the sick”]

Liturgical Calendar:

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:

2 Kgs 5: 14-17/ Ps 98: 1. 2-3. 3-4/ 2 Tm 2: 8-13/ Lk 17: 11-19

Thought Starter:

Jesus cured the 10 lepers who begged for healing of their disease.

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Make regular visits to nursing homes

Take treats to nursing homes

Bring meals to families with ill members

Drive patient to appointments

Volunteer with Hospice

Volunteer with parish nurse programs

Send get well/thinking of you cards

Drive an elderly person to visit their spouse/relative/friend at a nursing home

Spend quality time with those who are sick or homebound;

Take the time to call, send a card or an e-mail to someone who is sick;

Volunteer at a hospital; assist those who are full-time caregivers for family members;

Cook and delivers meals to the sick and homebound.



[expand title=”November 6, 2016: Bury the dead”]

Liturgical Calendar:

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:

2 Mc 7: 1-2. 9-14/ Ps 17: 1. 5-6. 8. 15 (15b)/ 2 Thes 2: 16 – 3: 5/ Lk 20: 27-38

Thought Starter:

Maccabbes face death rather than deny their faith. The woman who had 7 husbands die is challenged to look beyond this like

Suggestions for Corporal Works of Mercy Weeks

Go to parish wakes and funerals

Visit widows and widowers

Help care for parish cemetery

Pray for dead

Do yard work and snow removal for widows and widowers

Send sympathy cards

Provide food for wakes and funeral dinners

Support or volunteer at a hospice;

Participate in a bereavement ministry;

Take friends and relatives to visit the cemetery;

Support ministries that offer free Christian burials to those unable to afford one;

Offer daily prayers for those with terminal illnesses and for those who have died;

Send Mass cards to families of those who have died.

Light a candle for each person that has died during the year with their name on them and place them on the altar during mass.



Examples of Service Project Plans for the Year of Mercy:

Spires of Faith Cluster: This plan features a summary of each Work Week, a detailed description of what the parish will do each week and a list of “Dates to Remember” including communal penance services throughout the year.