The Catholic Charities ‘Mercy In-Focus’ program

The Catholic Charities ‘Mercy In-Focus’ program


In an effort to help bring the corporal works of mercy to life during the Jubilee of Mercy, Catholic Charities rolled out a three-part program for parishes and other Catholic communities this week called “Mercy In-Focus.”

Comprised of three components, — Education, Action and Encounter — the program aims to provide both new insight into the corporal works of mercy and hands-on opportunities to put those works into action.

“The work of charity is, as Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote, ‘an indispensable expression’ of the Catholic Church’s very being. Those of us who have the honor of working for Catholic Charities are very conscious this Jubilee Year of our personal need for mercy, and the need to be animated by the Holy Spirit to better practice mercy for others,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden.

“Our Jubilee programs for parishes are a way for us at Catholic Charities to receive mercy from our parish partners, and to better extend mercy to those we serve. At the same time they provide some concrete ideas for parishes to actively engage in the Jubilee,” he added.

The Mercy In-Focus series divides the Jubilee Year of Mercy (from December 2015 to November 2016) into four quarters, each focusing on a different corporal work of mercy. The beginning of the Jubilee Year through February focuses on Welcome the Stranger. Next is Feed the Hungry and Shelter the Homeless from March through May; then Visit the Imprisoned from June through August; ending with Clothe the Naked from September through November.

During each quarter, parish, school, or youth and young adult groups can engage in one or all three of the program’s components. The first, Education, brings a speaker or panel of speakers to the group to discuss the selected work of mercy, using personal experiences and the daily work of Catholic Charities.

The second, Action, invites the group to participate in a service project at Catholic Charities related to the particular work of mercy. The program also provides a yearlong series of “Mercy Giving Tree” tags that parishes can personalize to collect items for populations in need each month throughout the jubilee year.

The final component, Encounter, will be a fellowship event open to all at one of Catholic Charities’ locations throughout the diocese, providing participants with the opportunity to share in activities and conversation with Catholic Charities’ staff and those who receive services at one of their locations.

“We are eager to work with parishes and other faith communities to tailor this program in ways that best fit their unique needs and goals,” Hickey said.

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy date back to the early days of the church and codify the particular charitable actions Christians should extend to their neighbors in need.

Parishes, schools or youth and young adult groups interested in participating in the Mercy In-Focus program should contact Joanna Gardner, 856-342-8846,

More details about the program and a complete listing of upcoming events is available online at


Currently scheduled events for Mercy In-Focus


Panel Discussion on Refugee Resettlement

Sunday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m., Holy Angels Parish, 96 Green Ave., Woodbury

Hear from Catholic Charities’ refugee staff as they talk about their personal experiences as refugees and explain the process of refugee resettlement.

“Welcoming the Stranger” Panel Discussion

Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m., Christ Our Light Catholic Community, Resurrection School Auditorium, 402 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill

Refugee staff of Catholic Charities share their personal stories of hardship, resilience and hope.


Encounter with Refugee Resettlement

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 4 p.m., Catholic Charities Camden County Family and Community Services Center, 1845 Haddon Ave., Camden

Catholic Charities holds regular educational and community-building events for refugee families. Join Catholic Charities staff and the families they serve for an afternoon of family fun, featuring an interactive educational program, a question and answer session with refugee families, crafts, child-friendly activities and food.

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