Works Points Program
All Confirmation candidates are required to complete a minimum of 24 Works of Mercy points (Works Points) before they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Works will be recorded and signed by both the candidate and a parent on a Works of Mercy Log. Candidates will upload logs at the end of each season to the parish, along with any related paperwork.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are very different than the Corporal Works of Mercy. For the latter, we do something to help someone physically like feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc. With the Spiritual Works of Mercy, we do something that helps someone spiritually. Many times, these are private works—they are a heartwarming, personal moment between two people, or perhaps they are simply works of prayer. Tracking Spiritual Works of Mercy for teens is significantly more challenging than merely measuring hours of hands-on service.
For the 2020–2021 Confirmation year, the COVID-19 State of Emergency has forced St. Mary’s to look at the Works Points Program in a new way. The teens in our program are isolated at home. They are not going to school. Their social lives are limited, and their ability to interact physically with those in need is curtailed by either new laws in the Commonwealth or by the Archdiocese of Boston.
We are using the Spiritual Works of Mercy this year because candidates can accomplish many of these works by interacting with family members with whom they are isolated, or via telephone (voice only—no texting) or Zoom® with extended family or friends. Some require leaving home, but will involve going to a place that adheres to high standards of cleanliness and strict social distancing guidelines, such as to the church or a shrine for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Because this program is unusual, it would not be fair to the candidates to force them to come up with their own ways of achieving Works Points. Instead, we suggest 20 specific ideas from which each candidate should choose. Our goal is to provide an array of meaningful spiritual works of mercy that will yield memorable experiences for the candidates. Not every activity will appeal to all candidates. Teens that are struggling with which works to choose should talk with their parents about how to pick ones that they might find particularly rewarding. None of these works should be overly burdensome. They are provided to give candidates the experience of putting someone else’s needs ahead of their own.
Because most Spiritual Works of Mercy do not do more for someone if you do them longer, there is usually no correlation between the length of time spent on a Spiritual Work of Mercy and the value provided. Accordingly, points are given for actually performing the Spiritual Work of Mercy, and will not be measured in “hours.” In some cases, the deliverables will ask how much time the candidate applied to the project, but this is more of a gauge of how serious the candidate took the project.
All deliverables will be signed off on by a parent, and we remind candidates that honesty and integrity are critical life skills to develop.
Works of Mercy (Ways to show Charity to Others)
During the two-year program, candidates will complete 24 Works of Mercy points from Category A or SGL. Unfortunately, works of service that formerly appeared in Categories B and C are no longer part of this program due to the State of Emergency caused by COVID-19. Any second-year candidate who earned points in Categories B and C before March 11, 2020, will NOT have to make up those points, however.
Category A: Spiritual Works of Mercy
Points: Individual Spiritual Works of Mercy are usually worth 1 point each. For a list of program activities in this category, as well as the points offered and the limits of points per season, please download the PDF document, “Spiritual Works of Mercy Works Points Program” below.
What are the Spiritual Works of Mercy? We perform a spiritual work of mercy any time we assist or aid someone with spiritual needs such as comfort or consolation, forgiveness, prayer, guidance, or patience.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy include:
- Instruct the ignorant
- Counsel the doubtful
- Admonish the sinner
- Bear patiently those who wrong us
- Forgive offenses
- Comfort the sorrowful
- Pray for the living and the dead
Examples: Set a good example for others, help a younger sibling learn a prayer, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, extend forgiveness to someone who hurt you, make a card for someone who is ill or has lost a loved one, execute a plan for being less critical of others, or attend a funeral and pray for the deceased.
References: For more information on the Spiritual Works of Mercy, go to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops – The Spiritual Works of Mercy webpage.
Former Category B: St. Mary Works of Service
Due to COVID-19 and strict Archdiocesan guidelines that limit interactions between parishioners, staff members, and others, St. Mary Works of Service activities are no longer available as service points.
Former Category C: Community Works of Service
Due to COVID-19 and the subsequent State of Emergency, Community Works of Service are not encouraged during the current phase of reopening.
Category SGL: Special Small Group Leader Service
Those candidates receiving training for and performing the duties of a Small Group Leader (SGL) in Confirmation 1 and 2 will earn 1 point for each Small Group Meeting they facilitate. If the SGL facilitates all 24 Small Group Meetings, there is no requirement to perform any other Works in Categories A.
Requirement: Complete a minimum of 6 points per season (Fall or Spring) in this category A or SGL.