As a steward community devoted to serving God and others, we often hear about the Corporal Works of Mercy. And just as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops tells us, the Corporal Works of Mercy are outlined in the teachings of Jesus, giving us “a model for how we should treat all others as if they were Christ in disguise.”
We find examples of the Corporal Works of Mercy throughout the Bible — in particular, Matthew 25 lays them out clearly — to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead and give alms to the poor.
Here at Blessed Sacrament, we have several ways to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy. We have a Food Pantry that people in need can visit. Each Monday, volunteers come to the parish and stock shelves with the items donated over the weekend. They also prepare bags to be given to those in need.
“There is a real need for this ministry as we try to come to the aid of our neighbor by feeding the hungry, which is a Work of Mercy,” says Sheryl Blauhorn, who has volunteered at the Food Pantry for about two years. “I like knowing I’m helping others through this ministry.”
Sheryl, who also serves with Can Care-A-Van, has enjoyed getting to know other parishioners through her service.
Throughout the year, there are several opportunities for people to donate food. CCD students have done a scavenger hunt to collect food, and there’s usually a drive over Lent.
“Our church parishioners here at Blessed Sacrament are very generous and caring and contribute so much to our pantry,” Sheryl says.
Because of the generosity of our parishioners and with regular donations from Resurrection Catholic Parish, Blessed Sacrament was able to feed 521 families in 2022. With the demand increasing in the first eight months of 2023, the pantry has already provided food assistance to 472 families.
Another way to fulfill a Corporal Work of Mercy is to be part of the Compass Ministry. Members respond to the needs of families to help them stay together. Often, this involves foster families or family members hosting at-need families.
Mary Anne Hinchey helps coordinate this ministry. She watches a portal for items that ministry members may be able to provide. It could be anything from a bed to a crib or car seat. Five other local parishes participate in this ministry.
“We have 12 dedicated team members who put in money to help fill the needs,” Mary Anne says. “Then, when I see an item we can fill, I take it and fill it.”
Since the ministry began here at Blessed Sacrament in October 2021, the team has helped 26 families with 73 children stay intact, with an economic impact of $24,700.
“It feels good to be able to help people in the community with basic needs,” Mary Anne says. “We want to be able to keep families together as that’s so important.”
Sometimes, ministry members deliver the items to the family. Recently, parishioners donated some slightly used beds and were able to bring them to the family. The family appreciated the support, as this allowed a grandmother to care for her grandkids instead of having them end up in foster care.
“We want to show them Christ’s love and invite them to come to Mass at Blessed Sacrament any time,” Mary Anne says.
Consider getting involved with either of the ministries and donating. Some recommendations for the Food Pantry are canned protein, soup, pasta sauce, packaged foods, canned vegetables, canned beans, and fruits. Hygiene items like toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, and shower soaps are also accepted.
Contact the parish office at 308-384-0532 for more information on serving with either ministry.