The Corporal Acts of Mercy

Abraham and me with the students


The Navarro Family

As a catechist part of my service is to volunteer with my students helping with the Christian Food Distribution. St. Norbert has a regular group of volunteers who lovingly pack the food for those in need. We have all experienced the high cost of food, and our church program does a great service by extending a helping hand. This work is orchestrated by the beautiful, petite Michelle Navarro. Her husband, Paul, two of their four children and two of Paul’s sisters were there to help as well. Twice I have had the honor in helping with this ministry. Michelle’s kind and quiet demeanor brings joy to the laborers. She is an angel sent from heaven with wings sprinkled in gold. For this reason people return to help with this outreach.



Upon my arrival I was sent to the bean and rice station. These sage women have been doing this for years. They joyfully  pack and wrap the beans and rice. For these older woman, it was a social gathering with friends with fringe benefits of helping others. It was a pleasure to work with them.

I dare not ask their ages, but it was apparent that several were in their 80’s.

92 year-0ld Zenaida Arcos, credit Carlos Aviles/Diocese of Orange

A recent article in the Orange County Catholic featured a story about our oldest volunteer, Zenailda Arcos. She is 92-years-old! This is proof that volunteering keeps us young!

Training The Youth

Part of this service is training the catechumens to serve. Isiah 58:6-7 speaks of the corporal acts of kindness. For these students to give up a Saturday morning from 9:oo to 12 noon is a clear indication that they are willing to sacrifice their time for the needs of others.

When the rest of the young volunteers arrived. Like well-trained soldiers, they knew what to do.  In quick succession over 200 grocery bags were filled with food. The next station was the produce and, depending on what was donated,  a family could receive a pretty sizable bag of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sorting vegetable
Packing the fruits and vegetables
The assembly line

God Will Provide

We have all experienced the high cost of food. For instance our last visit to McDonald’s cost us over $34 for just two meals. It was as if I’d purchased the meals at the airport! Grocery shopping has become an unpleasant weekly fight for savings. I am always looking for the best deals; if my favorite brand is not on sale, I purchase the generic label. Some way, somehow, God will provide for all of our needs.

The Students

It takes a good heart to volunteer, and I was so filled with joy that most of my students were available. not one of them complained and because they were so busy their phones quietly snoozed during the labor. There were students from Villa Park, Servite, Rosary, Mater Dei, Troy, Canyon, and Santa Margarita High Schools. We also had several students from St. Norbert. Together they completed part of God’s great family of servants.


Abraham and Michelle


Abraham is  our youth minister and coordinator for Confirmation. He has not only a calling to serve the youth but is inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring special blessings to them. I marvel at his natural way of speaking to the students because he uses the Word of God in a practical way of reaching out. His words are seasoned with wisdom and love.  I personally have seen his growth in this program. We need people like him to tug at the hearts of these beautiful souls. None of our students will leave without knowing how much God loves them and how very important they are to the future of mankind. These students will make a difference in this crazy world.

Thank you, Abraham, for planting a seed with your short teaching on the Corporal Acts of Mercy.


Handing out the meals

My Role

Above all I will pray for my students to fully understand the teachings of Christ. We have covered many lessons throughout the last two years, and I have grown fond of their unique personalities and the way they interact with one another. Moreover, the maturity they have developed in understanding deep things of God that will see them through life.

They have touched my spirit and I see a glimpse through the windows of their eyes, filled with the yearning to draw closer to God.

Sometimes it’s difficult to hear God speaking with the distractions of the world. But one day these students’  calling will remain steadfast.


What a beautiful manner to usher in Lent. Though at times I feel inadequate during this holy season, I am so overjoyed that it started with helping the Christian Food Distribution at St. Norbert. To think that our parish provides this service every weekend is amazing!

Corporal Acts Of Mercy

With Lent at our doorstep, I want to re-examine the definition of Corporal Acts of Mercy.

Matthew 25:34-37   New American Bible (Revised Edition)

34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

In lay terms:

The Corporal Works of Mercy

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Welcome the stranger
  • Heal the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead

My Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for teaching us how to express our love to others. I pray for all those who continually volunteer by helping with the Christian Food Distribution. Lord, I pray for all the students who helped with this ministry. May they walk away with hearts filled with joy after helping those in need. Jesus, continue to guide them and use them in all of their giftings.
I lift up Michelle and Paul Navarro’s family, and all volunteers who work tirelessly to make this program a great success.
Lord, help us to serve in several of these Corporal Acts of Mercy, especially during Lent. Amen.

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