At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis, in his letter Misericordia et misera, emphasized the importance of continuing to live mercy in our daily lives: "The Holy Year, [was} a time rich in mercy, which must continue to be celebrated and lived out in our communities. Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very existence, through which the profound truths of the Gospel are made manifest and tangible". St. Martha Catholic School has been doing just that through a group of students that have come together to form a Mercy Group which focuses on mercy initiatives for the whole school.
To help St. Martha students better understand the concept of mercy, the group has created a presentation and visited every grade to present.
"What we talked about was, 'what is mercy?' and how you can show it in your school, community and home," said Rebecca, a member of the mercy group.
"We had to change the wording and how we described mercy. For the kindergartens, we used simpler words and we asked a lot of questions so they could answer and we did a lot of different examples," said Katriona, another member of the group. "We had to change some of the words in the slideshow for different grades."
The group provided various examples to every grade of how to show mercy in their home, school and larger community.
"For mercy at home, we would say to help around the house if your mom or dad was having a bad day," said Jenny.
Swaila added, "At school you could ask if someone wanted to play with you."
"In the community, how you can show mercy is helping someone cross the road that is elderly," said Maddie.
Now that each grade is familiarized with the concept of mercy, it is evident throughout St. Martha Catholic School that students are putting mercy into action.
Students have started to create pictures, collages, photographs, posters, videos, stories, essays and other pieces of artwork that depict and describe Mercy in Action. These are projects are part of a mercy challenge that St. Martha Catholic School has created.
For the Kindergarten to Grade 2 classes, students are asked to submit a visual art showing Mercy in Action in their home or school. Winning submissions from this group will be given $50 to donate to a charity of their choice.
For the Grade 3-5 classes, students are asked to create a visual art piece showing Mercy in Action in their school or community. Winning submissions from this group will be given $75 to donate to their charity of choice.
For the Grade 6-8 group, students are asked to research and select a photograph, poster, song, poem or video that depicts Mercy in Action in a large community setting or the world. Winning submissions for this group will be given $100 to donate to their charity of choice.
These submissions are due the week of February 13.
Jeremy, another member of the Mercy Group says that he hopes the group will continue after the competition. The group will meet again soon and he's sure more great ideas to show mercy will come from the group and be shared in the school and larger community.