Pope Francis announced an Extraordinary Jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to highlight the Catholic Church’s “mission to be a witness of mercy.” The year will take place Dec. 8, 2015 until Nov. 20, 2016. It is an exciting time to be Catholic!
I am looking forward to this year, because the theme is very do-able. Everything I have been reading leaves me thinking, “Oh, I could do that!” and I am hoping those thoughts become a reality. With small changes we can make a big difference in the world around us. Who is with me?
I am currently looking (literally, this view is to my left) at this giant pile of Christmas presents in my Life Teen office. As a Life Teen family, we adopt a family from the giving tree each year. The presents have just kept flowing in.
To be merciful is to share in the struggles of another. It allows us to be compassionate, gracious, and benevolent to others in our human family. Participating in the giving tree has certainly been an awesome preparation for the Year of Mercy. Those presents are for a family that has eight children. God bless the mother. I talked on the phone with her for almost an hour today (note* we have never met) and we were just telling jokes and stories to each other. My eyes kept filling with tears as she told me about her sweet babes. Y’all, we are one human family. This is mercy in action.
What am I going to do during this Year of Mercy? These are my resolutions!
+ Feed the Hungry: Next weekend I am heading to the Peter Maurin Center, a homeless outreach ministry in Akron, Ohio. It is part of the Catholic Worker community. I will be preparing sandwiches and then spending time on the streets handing out donations and doing homeless outreach. I will also be leading a week-long mission trip to Philadelphia with Catholic Heart Workcamp in June.
+ Give Drink to the Thirsty: I plan to donate baby formula to Maggie’s Place and to participate in a 5k which supports this cause.
+ Clothe the Naked: Pray for the virtue of modesty in my dress, asking God that I may always reflect my love for Him through what I wear, and lead a Bible Study for my high school students on this topic with a focus on Theology of the Body. I’d also like to work with my Edge Junior High Students to collect diapers for Maggie’s Place.
+ Shelter the Homeless: Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity with Steven.
+ Visit the Sick: This weekend I am taking my Life Teen students Christmas caroling to a local nursing home. I also want to make a better effort to raise awareness about my illness, fibromyalgia, through this blog and my Facebook page.
+ Visit the Imprisoned: I am going to do prison ministry with my friend Sadie through her parish, Church of the Gesu.
+ Bury the Dead: Pray outside of an abortion clinic and pray for the souls of the precious babies who lost their lives.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
Happy Year of Mercy, friends!