Dear Parents and Students,
Recently Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy Year. This celebration will begin on December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) and we are asked to do our best to emulate “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6) I really hope this is one of those times when all “people of good will” listen to the Pope and respond with their hearts.
This world presents many problems to all of us but a few simple acts of mercy just might serve as encouragement to individuals, families and nations. Robert Kennedy once said that a man never sees the fullness of his simple kind acts. It is like tossing a rock into a pond. We see the initial splash, but rarely are in a position to note that the ripple goes out in all directions to each inch of the pond. No doubt, you have had moments when something as simple as a call from a friend, or courtesy from a stranger or the smile of your own child has brought a bit of joy into your heart.
Great theologians can do this topic much more justice than I can, but let me share a few of Pope Francis’ words with you: “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” (Misericordiae Vultus #10)
The following are the Corporal Works of Mercy:
Feed the hungry.
Give drink to the thirsty.
Clothe the naked.
Visit the imprisoned.
Shelter the homeless.
Visit the sick.
Bury the dead.
I’m pretty sure that every Catholic school graduate from the last 200 years would be able to remember most of these acts of mercy, but more importantly we all need to learn to perform these acts of mercy. It certainly isn’t appropriate for an elementary school student to visit San Quentin, but in their own simple way our children can follow these teachings. As you know, each class has an outreach program every year and the entire school has a few fundraisers for others each year too.
Currently we are working on our Food Bank drive and this has been a tremendously successful campaign for more than a decade. It should also be noted that our 7th graders do volunteer service at the San Francisco Food Bank six days per year. Adding this personal touch helps the kids see two things more clearly: hunger is a problem in our City and it is one that we can help solve.
So, God bless Pope Francis for calling our attention to mercy, and God bless all of you for your generous acts of mercy.
PS Food Bank barrels are in the main hallway downstairs.