Read the article ‘Taking mercy to the streets’ and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. Why do you think it’s important for young people to be supported into adulthood? Why is building relationships a big part of growing into a healthy adult?
2. What are the corporal works of mercy? What are the spiritual works of mercy? Where can you find the answers to these two questions?
3. How do the corporal and the spiritual works of mercy work together? How can you live both even though you are a kid or a teen?
4. Proclaim Lismore hopes to ‘enliven Catholic education’. Why would giving students the opportunity to live out works of mercy enliven their faith? Why are the works of mercy important to our faith?
5. What social justice activities would you like to get involved with? How do you think volunteering in social justice would help you transition into adulthood?
1. Enliven Catholic Education: As a class, brainstorm ways you could enliven your RE program. What activities do you as students enjoy and get a lot out of? What activities deepen your faith? What are some examples? What do you want out of your Catholic education? Is it just to get into a good university or is it about what sort of person you will be?
Teachers can do this activity with their class and then share the information with other RE teachers, their RE coordinator and/or school’s administration.
2. Start your school’s own Street Retreat! Rather than just getting six students from one class involved, why not invite all students to volunteer with a different charity each term. After each volunteer experience, students could write a reflection, draw or paint a picture, take photographs, make a video, or write a poem about what they learned about the works of mercy.
At the end of the year, your school could hold a Mercy Art Festival showcasing the different ways your students lived out the Catholic Church’s corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
For younger students
Teachers can read the story to the class or summarise it for them. Teachers can explain the definition of mercy and ask students why mercy is important to our Catholic faith. Then, more specifically, teachers can explain what the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are. Encourage students to share about times they have done or received a corporal and/or spiritual work of mercy.
Teachers can then bring out two large pieces of paper. At the top of one piece of paper, write corporal works of mercy. Then as a class, brainstorm ways students can live out the spiritual works of mercy at school, in extracurricular activities, and at home. Then do the same for the spiritual works of mercy. Teachers can hang the list up in the classroom as a reminder to students how they can show others mercy every day.
For further learning
1. What do you think of the work Proclaim Lismore does helping young people while helping those in need?
2. Proclaim Lismore wants to emphasise what makes Catholic schools Catholic. Why do you think this would be important to the mission of the Catholic Church?
a. Why is it important that Catholic schools not only be about getting a great education?
b. Why would Church leaders want our faith to be the main focus in Catholic schools?
3. Imagine you are someone in need, who benefits from the student Street Retreat volunteers. What would it mean to you for young people to show they care? Would this help you? Why or why not?
4. Write a short story from either the point of view of a student participant in the Lismore Proclaim Street Retreat or a person in need who benefits from this program. Paint your readers a picture of what the interaction between students and those in need are, and how this is what being Catholic is all about.
If you feel comfortable, when you’re finished, share your story with your class.