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August 21, 2023 REL Topic - Catechesis, REL Asset - Prayer Experience, REL Asset - Prayer Card

American Catholics Uniting in Service to Others

September 11, 2023, marks the twenty second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Each year on September 11th, federally recognized as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, millions of Americans come together to perform acts of service in honor of those killed and injured on September 11, 2001, fearless first responders, and all those who work to defend freedom around the world. The twentieth anniversary is a special opportunity for American Catholics to unite in a spirit of service on this day of national tragedy. Plan to mark this special service opportunity with service ideas and resources for Catholics of all ages.


Following Jesus’ Example of Service

Service is the action of helping someone or doing work for the benefit of others.As Catholics, we follow Jesus’ example of service. He provided for the hungry and cared for the sick. Like Jesus, we do our best to help other people get the things that they need. We work to ensure that others have what is rightfully theirs. When Catholics serve others, they give witness to Jesus Christ. At the end of each Mass, we are commissioned to go in peace and love and serve the Lord. A way to do this is by serving others. Catholics are we are called to do good works every day of the year, but days of service are an opportunity to come together with others to perform good works as disciples of Jesus and members of our community.

The Works of Mercy

We give witness to Jesus when we perform the Works of Mercy, acts of love that help us care for the needs of others, both physical and spiritual. The Corporal Works of Mercy, which address the physical and material needs of others, are: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; visit the imprisoned; shelter the homeless; visit the sick; and bury the dead. The Spiritual Works of Mercy, which address the needs of people’s hearts, minds, and souls, are: admonish the sinner; instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; comfort the sorrowful; bear wrongs patiently; forgive all injuries; and pray for the living and the dead.

Service Learning

Service learning is a learning experience for students of all ages that fosters civic responsibility and gives students the experience of observing and responding to real needs in the community through service work. These experiences help students develop a spirit of and a commitment to service as they grow. Catholic kids and adults can and do learn through service, and there are all kinds of service opportunities that are available and appropriate for Catholic kids and families.

Service for Catholics of All Ages

Even the youngest disciples can engage in good works, by helping their family members, making a special effort to share, and participating in a class or family initiative to assist those who are poor or in need. Older children can work together on larger and more impactful service projects. Creating opportunities for service learning and service projects that allow Catholic kids and families to perform the works of mercy is an engaging and wonderful way to encourage good works and lifelong service.

When Catholics serve others, they give witness to Jesus Christ.

Mobilize your community with service this September or any time of year. Download the 10 Service Projects Children Will Love eBook for fun and Catholic kid-approved service project ideas. These projects allow students to be engaged and make a real difference in their communities, guided by a leader or concerted community effort. These projects provide students with the opportunity to know, love and serve the Lord and are manageable to plan and implement!


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Praying to Unite Us in Service

A quote attributed to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve.” Begin service-learning efforts or service initiatives for young Catholics and Catholic families with this prayer service, which includes Scripture, an anointing of the hands, and prayers for the community and world. Share it as a community if your Catholic parish or Catholic school will join together in a day of service, or with individuals and families to use to support their good works in the service of others any day of the year.


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As we remember 9/11 and those who lost lives in the tragic events of the day and its aftermath, we continue to seek answers and process our grief. When trying to make sense of tragedy, acts of violence, widespread damage, casualties, etc., we can turn to God for understanding and healing. Download and share a Prayer for Unity in Times of National Tragedy Prayer Card as a support and a resource in times of grief or tragedy.


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Join with Catholics across the nation and across the world in service and prayer on the National Day of Service and Remembrance and all year long.