Each year I try to find creative ways to invite my students into the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The trouble is that the normal suggestions for adults are not always practical for kids- they often are not in control of things like their own finances, time, and travel. So I asked my students- How can YOU give and pray and fast this Lent?
Because it is the Year of Mercy, I knew that I wanted to frame their suggestions around the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. The kids worked hard over the course of two days to come up with a list of practical ways kids could live out the works of mercy. I took their great ideas and organized them a bit into a printable for each set of works of mercy.
Then, because a dear friend gave me this stellar bobble head of Pope Francis (because what Catholic classroom doesn't need a Pope bobble head???), I was able to set up this little "Lenten Acts of Mercy" station in our classroom. Posted are the two lists created by the kids. They are being challenged each week to live out one of the Corporal and one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. This is pretty perfect since there are just about seven weeks in Lent :)
I added two jars labeled for the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, red beads in a bowl, and a sign saying "Be merciful as your Father is merciful." When they feel as though they have performed an act of mercy, they can add a bead to the jar. There are no goals, no counting, no prizes, etc. I told the kids I had no plan for how long it would take to fill up a jar, and if they did fill one, we would empty it and start all over again. Too often kids (and adults) are caught up in the what's-in-it-for-us mentality. This is just a gathering place for some accountability and reminders about our project- a little action that will help make the invisible visible. :)
You could try something like this yourself in your classroom or home. This lists can be printed below, both with our ideas as a list or blank so you can fill in your own. The USCCB has some great lists for the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy you should check out as well.
Click here for the Corporal Works of Mercy List:
Click here for the Spiritual Works of Mercy List:
You might also like these Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy coloring pages and mini books: