A Church of Mercy – In Action

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we at Loyola Press have been talking a lot about Pope Francis’s exciting new book, The Church of Mercy.As our publisher, Fr. Paul Campbell, S.J. reminds everyone, “Remember, Loyola Press is a not-for-profit Jesuit ministry, so this isn’t about lining our own pockets with gold but about getting the Pope’s joyful message of God’s love and mercy to as many as possible.” Heck, I was talking about MERCY here on my blog long before we ever dreamed we would have a Pope Francis! (Mercy, Mercy, Mercy– Nov. 6, 2010; Mercy Experiences– Dec. 8, 2012) We really believe this stuff!

Last night, I had the privilege of leading 9 sixth graders on a Mercy Experience, showing them what a Church of Mercy looks like. The young people prepared and served dinner for the current guests at Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, near Advocate Christ Hospital, a “home away from home” for families of children with complex medical needs.

The young people arrived 30 minutes before dinner time with their dishes in hand and quickly went to work under the supervision of Mr. & Mrs. Paprocki, warming up the food and then arranging it for serving buffet style. Throughout the dinner hour, the young people waited on the guests, offering them water, second helpings, desserts, and cleaning up their plates. The young people then enjoyed a tour of the facilities before doing all of the clean up! They were well behaved (albeit somewhat giddy to be on a field trip!) and brought smiles to the faces of the guests who were so appreciative. Here are some pics of the kids in action, experiencing a Church of Mercy!

Here, Joanne and the kids are warming up food on the stove.

Here, are a couple of 6th grade chefs..that young man with the chef’s hat brought it himself along with aprons for everyone!

With dinner ready, 2 of the young people await to greet guests at the entrance to the dining room.

Clean up time!

When all was said and done, I provided the young people with these certificates!




About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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