This Lent, since it is the Jubilee Year of Mercy, St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Chicago changed their annual Lenten Acts of Justice to be Lenten Acts of Mercy. Each week of Lent, parishioners were encouraged to participate in one Work of Mercy as a parish. These included:
"Comfort the Sorrowful"
...where they collected about four large boxes of art supplies for immigrant children staying in a detention center,
"Give Drink to the Thirsty"
...where they received over 1,200 individual bottles of water and juice to give to local homeless shelters,
"To Shelter the Homeless"
...where they collected about 75 bath towels and sheets for the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants,
"To Feed the Hungry"
...where about 30 parishioners cooked for and/or went to a shelter to serve dinner to the homeless. That same day, they also collected approximately 500 canned and boxed items for the parish food pantry. Another day, another group of about eight people also bought toiletries and items to make sandwiches and went out to the streets to hand them out to the homeless
"To Care for the Sick"
...where they collected various sweatshirts, sweatpants, and socks for patients in a local hospital. Also, 36 parishioners donated blood in the Blood Drive, which can save up to 108 lives and
"To Clothe the Naked"
This activity will be the last one to take place where they are collecting underwear and socks for people in local homeless shelters.
Besides these works of mercy, they also had a group of about a dozen parishioners and Augustinian Friars who went to the Broadview detention center to pray for those about to be deported. They have been collecting coins in the annual Operation Rice Bowl project; over 330 parishioners signed a petition which will be sent to Illinois legislators in favor of Catholic Charities because their failure to pass a state budget has led to a severe situation for Catholic Charities and the services they provide.
Parishioners throughout Lent have also been encouraged to write the Works of Mercy they perform on slips of paper and put them in a basket in church. Those slips of paper will then be used to light the Easter Fire at the Easter Vigil, as a sign and symbol of the parish's sacrifices and good works throughout the Lenten Season.