A game to get students thinking about ways to live out the Corporal Works of Mercy
By Sara Jonckheere
Works of Mercy allow us to extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need. Through the Corporal Works of Mercy we can help our neighbors with their material and physical needs. While many of the ways we can help involve adults and their time, talent and resources, children can help out in their own small ways, too.
This Corporal Works of Mercy sort not only helps students to learn the works and identify an image to represent each one, but it also gets them thinking about how they could help on their own, with their family and with their class.
Color and cut out the pictures and the words for each of the Corporal Works of Mercy. They are in a mixed-up order before you cut them out to make matching a little more challenging.
Sort through and match the words to a picture that represents it. Once students find a match, have them glue the words in the first column and the pictures in the second column.
In the third column, have students write ideas for how they could help their neighbor through these Works of Mercy. This might involve a whole class discussion and brainstorming session. Try to get students to see that even though they are young, there are still things that they can do to help others.
Ideas for ways to live out the Corporal Works of Mercy
In a discussion with the class, talk about ways that they could help others by themselves, ways they could work with their parents to help others and ways they could work together as a class to help others. Try to get them to think beyond just the words – for example, visiting the imprisoned can be more than just visiting people in jail. Who else in our community is imprisoned? Who else can’t get around because of illness, injury, age, lack of means, and so on?
This will take a lot of prompting and ideas from you as the teacher to get the ideas flowing. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.
Feed the hungry – donate a meal to a needy family, collect canned goods to stock a food pantry, make sandwiches to give to the homeless, give restaurant gift cards to people in need, help at a soup kitchen
Shelter the homeless – make blankets for homeless shelters, make blessing bags for the homeless, help with your parish’s homeless outreach program, donate time at a shelter
Clothe the naked – donate outgrown clothes to a charity like St. Vincent de Paul, put hats, gloves, shirts, socks and underwear in blessing bags for the homeless, collect jackets and cold weather gear to donate
Visit the sick – make cards to take to a hospital, collect toys and books to deliver to a children’s hospital, visit a neighbor or family member who is sick and take them a meal
Visit the imprisoned – work with your parish’s prison ministry, donate to those who have family members in prison, visit a nursing home or homebound neighbor
Bury the dead – send a card to someone who has recently lost a loved one, visit a cemetery and pray, donate food and your time for funeral luncheons
Give drink to the thirsty – collect bottled water to donate to a shelter, donate water to a city with a water crisis such as Flint, MI or Detroit Public Schools
“Give alms to the poor” is also sometimes included on this list, though it is not one of the seven listed in this sorting activity. Donating money to organizations that can help provide services and support would be something you could list for each of the other works of mercy.
Sara Jonckheere is an elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She now creates digital curriculum and resources and shares teaching ideas on her blog, Sara J Creations.
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