Pope Francis calls for a Year of Mercy
Seeing the great need for mercy and healing in the world, Pope Francis called for the Year of Mercy—a special period, also known as a Holy Year or Jubilee Year, for the Catholic Church. It is a time for the Church across the world to take approximately a year to focus on forgiveness and healing in a special way. Pope Francis has asked us as individuals and as a Church “to be a witness of mercy” by reflecting on and practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy (read Pope Francis’ Announcement of the Year of Mercy). Beginning December 8, 2015, the Holy Year of Mercy will focus on studying and reflecting on mercy, receiving mercy, and being merciful towards others.
Our students practice acts of mercy
At St. Mary’s School, students are called to practice acts of mercy frequently and spend time in reflection upon how their actions affect others.
In December, just before Christmas, seventh graders together with their first grade buddies walked to Brookside Retirement Residence to sing holiday songs with the residents. A gift exchange followed. The students gave the elders handmade flowers and the residents reciprocated with candy canes, hugs and huge smiles.
To celebrate Day 100 of the Jubilee Year, St. Mary’s kindergarteners and first graders called Plowshares Peace and Justice Center to find out what they needed. Having done this research, the students brought in personal grooming and food items. They put everything in groups of ten and displayed it in the school’s hallway before making the delivery to Plowshares. They brought in over 200 items!
Every St. Mary’s class is collecting Koins for Kids during Lent to support under-funded inner-city Dominican schools in Oakland, San Francisco and LA. In the process, our students learn how much they have in common with these inner-city students, whose neighborhoods and lives, on the exterior, appear very different. Students are giving up something for Lent or doing good works, and the money they save or earn goes to Koins for Kids.
Ah, mercy. This is the name of God. – Pope Francis