For Catholic Families

Works of Mercy

As acts of love that help us care for the needs of others, the Works of Mercy are an opportunity for Catholics to give witness to Christ. Jesus entrusted his followers the responsibility of caring for others. One way that Catholics fulfill this responsibility is by performing the Works of Mercy.

Mercy is one of the fruits of charity, which enables us to show love and compassion to those who are suffering in any way, whether in mind, body, heart, or soul.

The Works of Mercy are divided into two categories: The Corporal Works of Mercy (dealing with the body) and the Spiritual Works of Mercy (dealing with the mind, heart, and soul).

The Corporal

Works of Mercy

The corporal works of mercy are charitable deeds that provide for the bodily needs of a neighbor who is beset by misfortune or distress.

The Spiritual

Works of Mercy

The spiritual works of mercy are concerned with the well-being of a person’s soul. Like the corporal works of mercy, the spiritual works are also charitable deeds, ways to come to the aid of a neighbor in need of spiritual assistance. 

Complete List of

The Works of Mercy


First corporal work of mercy

Feed the hungry

There are many people in this world who go without food.  When so much of our food goes to waste, consider how good stewardship practices of your own food habits can benefit others who do not have those same resources.

Second corporal work of mercy

Give Drink to the thirsty

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity.  We should support the efforts of those working towards greater accessibility of this essential resource.  

Third corporal work of mercy

Shelter the homeless

There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home.  Christ encourages us to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them seek a resolution to the challenges they face.

Fourth corporal work of mercy

Visit the sick

Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided.  In spite of their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who take the time to visit and comfort them.

Fifth corporal work of mercy

Visit the prisoners

People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God.  No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.

Sixth corporal work of mercy

Bury the dead

Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times.  Through our prayers and actions during these times we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn.

seventh corporal work of mercy

Give alms to the poor

Donate money to organizations that have the ability to provide support and services for those in need.  Do research and find organizations that put people in need first, rather than profit. 

seventh corporal work of mercy

Care for our common home

As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires ‘simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness’ and ‘makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world’.


First spiritual work of mercy

Counsel the doubtful (Give advice to those who need it.)

Everyone has moments of doubt in their faith journey.  Nevertheless, we should always remember that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and turn to him along our way.

Second spiritual work of mercy

Instruct the ignorant (Share our knowledge with others.)

Learn about our faith and be open to talking with others about our beliefs.  There is always something more to discover about our faith.

Third spiritual work of mercy

Admonish the sinner (Give correction to those who need it.)

Do not judge, but be supportive in helping others find their way and correct their mistakes.  Together we can learn to walk more closely with Christ.

Fourth spiritual work of mercy

Comfort the sorrowful (Comfort those who suffer.)

Be open to listening and comforting those who are dealing with grief.  Even if we aren’t sure of the right words to say, our presence can make a big difference.

Fifth spiritual work of mercy

Forgive all injuries (Forgive those who hurt us.)

Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God’s limitless mercy and compassion.  But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God.

Sixth spiritual work of mercy

Bear wrongs patiently (Be patient with others.)

Do not be bitter about wrongs done against you.  Place your hope in God so that you can endure the troubles of this world and face them with a compassionate spirit. 

Seventh spiritual work of mercy

Pray for the living and the dead

Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can support others.  Joining together in prayer for the living and the dead entrusts us all into God’s care.

Eighth spiritual work of mercy

Care for our common home

As a spiritual work of mercy, care for our common home calls for a ‘grateful contemplation of God’s world’ which ‘allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us’. 

Renew Our Hearts to Care

Lenten Checklist

Performing the Works of Mercy enables disciples of Jesus to show love and compassion to those who are suffering in any way, whether in mind, body, heart, or soul.

All Catholics have a responsibility entrusted to them by Jesus Christ to perform the works of mercy and will be judged on these merciful acts at the end of time.

Begin this Lent, let us grow in mercy and change lives with love and compassion through the Works of Mercy.

Renew Our Hearts to Care

May our care for creation and the poor move us to action.


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