In two weeks, the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will conclude with the closing of the Holy Doors across the world, including at my home parish, and so this is a time to think back, to reflect on the past year, and what it meant to me personally.
In addition to the several things I’ve done or experienced in the past year, one of the ways to be a part of the year of mercy is by doing merciful acts.
In the Catholic Church, there are seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Comfort the sick
6. Visit the prisoners
7. Bury the dead
Earlier in the year, I was asked to volunteer for a ministry, a committee to plan and implement our church’s first Morning of Service, where our parishoners come together on and off site to do volunteer works along the lines of those corporal works. Our day of service was held yesterday to great success.
We had over two hundred people offer their services and dozens more donate items. There were groups making pet beds, rosaries, Welcome Bags for the Ronald McDonald House, visiting nursing homes, painting community rooms, building homes for Habitat for Humanity and a plethora of other works that look small and insignificant until you put them all together and see how they impact those on the receiving end.
In my short time with this parish, I have seen so many giving so much in the name of service. It astounded me at first, but now it makes me happy to be part of such a giving group as this. I continue to try and do my part to varying degrees and varying amounts of success, but I try, and that is most important.
I can’t express the feelings granted from giving. It is overwhelming and almost too much. It defies description.
While next year, there will be no jubilee, no Year of Mercy, what was begun this last year by Pope Francis and taken on by parishoners all across the world will continue through our committees, our ministries, and our parishoners.
Once the step forward is taken, it cannot be taken back.