How can teenagers learn about and live out the Corporal Works of Mercy? High schoolers at Saint Christopher Parish recently found out through a number of Sunday evening youth sessions, as part of the youth ministry program at the church in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood.
Under the leadership of Chris Miller, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Saint Christopher Parish, high school sessions during the Fall semester of the 2016-2017 school year focused on the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy. After learning about the history of the Corporal Works of Mercy and the 2016 Year of Mercy, each week teens were able to focus in-depth on one of the works of mercy. Session plans included: grace & faith in the Year of Mercy, understanding mercy, the USCCB’s Two Feet of Love in Action, clothing the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and visiting the sick.
Miller came up with the idea of focusing on the Corporal Works of Mercy while attending The University of Notre Dame’s Vision program in July 2016. The theme for the one-week camp for teens and youth/campus ministers was on Mercy, in light of the special Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In addition to the Sunday evening sessions, Miller organized a multi-parish service project on November 21 focusing on the Corporal Works of Mercy of giving drink to the thirsty and feeding the hungry, in collaboration with the youth ministers at Saint Victor, Queen of Apostles, Saint Catherine, and Holy Spirit. More than 25 teens came together to prepare and serve a full Thanksgiving meal for 50 residents at Parkside Studios, a Catholic Charities affordable housing site.
Miller, when asked about the purpose of the semester’s theme, stated, “What better way to help teens understand Catholic principles than informing and engaging young people to be Disciples of Christ to others?