BY MARIA BRENDELL
Seven corporal works of mercy through six events in two weeks – this is the challenge brought to Franciscan University’s campus by Project Mercy.
Project Mercy is a student-led outreach that gives students the opportunity to participate in six ministry events, each of which has a theme of one of the corporal works of mercy, in the course of two consecutive weekends, Oct.16-18 and 23-25.
The ultimate challenge is completing all six events incorporating the seven works of mercy in two weekends.
“One of the biggest things that I really wanted people to become aware of is the beauty of ministry and the beauty of going outside of yourself,” said Emily McMahon, the leader of the outreach and a member of Warriors of the Word household.
She spoke about the importance of being forced to go outside of oneself and focus on other people because this is the way one is able to grow in service and in love. Even if one does not fully understand what mercy is, if it doesn’t make sense, or if it doesn’t feel like people deserve it, one is still called to show that love and mercy anyway, she said.
Project Mercy began within the Warriors of the Word household when its yearly theme was chosen to be the works of mercy. The Warriors’ coordinator announced that Warriors’ service projects that year would correspond with the works of mercy, and McMahon said that she had this crazy idea of doing all seven of them.
The household members sat down for their business meeting and hashed out the details for their service projects, and it was after they made all the plans and decided on the name Project Mercy that they realized, coincidentally, that the university’s theme that year was also the Year of Mercy.
After this realization, the Warriors wanted to open up this opportunity to all of campus.
After much planning, Project Mercy was officially created. Through the outreach, students will work with many different organizations in the Steubenville area, such as the City Rescue Mission Homeless Shelter, Catherine’s Care Center Assisted Living, the Samaritan House and LAMP Soup Kitchen.
On Friday, Oct. 16, they began the challenge with “sheltering the homeless” and visited the people living at the homeless shelter. The next day, they met at Union Center Cemetery to pray for loved ones who have passed on and for the souls in Purgatory. On Sunday, Oct. 18, they visited the sick at Catherine’s Care Center Assisted Living.
The weekend of Oct. 23-25, students have the opportunity to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and comfort the imprisoned. On Friday, students will visit the Samaritan house; on Saturday, they will work in LAMP soup kitchen, and on Sunday, students can visit the International Lounge in the J.C. Williams Center to write letters to those in prison.
McMahon encourages students to join the challenge, even if they were unable to participate in previous events.
“It’s exciting for students to reach out and want to take those opportunities,” said McMahon. “Also, it’s kind of a cool challenge, because when would we ever get to be able to say I did all seven Corporal Works of Mercy in two weeks ever in your life again?”
For those seeking more details on how to participate, visit Project Mercy’s website, http://projectmercyfus.blogspot.com.