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The Holy Year of Mercy


"Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) - See more at:


Water is essential to human survival. Giving Drink to the Thirsty challenges us to find the means to provide safe, drinkable water for all as a recognition of their human dignity.  It is not just our bodies, however, that thirst. Our souls thirst as well for the living God. Showing mercy to others includes sharing the joy of the Gospel with those whose lives are dry from a lack of meaning.

“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”


Blessed are you, Lord of Hospitality. You feel the need of your people and reach out to them.  Help us to identify more with those in need, especially in our neighborhoods, and to do our part to ease their burdens.  Lord, hear us and keep us in your love.  Amen.


JOHN 4:7,10,13

A woman of Samaria came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ … ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. … Everyone, who drinks this water will be thirst again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst. …’

PSALM 42:2-3, 6, 8, 12

My soul thirsts for God.

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so my soul longs for your, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God,
When can I enter and see the face of God?

R.  My soul thirsts for God.

Why are you downcast, my soul;
why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, for I shall again praise him,
my savior and my God.

R.  My soul thirsts for God.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your torrents,
and all your waves and breakers
sweep over me.

R.  My soul thirsts for God.

Why are you downcast, my soul;
why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, for I shall again praise him,
my savior and my God.

R.  My soul thirsts for God.


For the poor, hungry and thirsty among us:  may we fulfill our obligation to share our food and drink with those in need, we pray to the Lord…

For all who have been cleansed in the waters of baptism:  may we never fail to give thanks and praise to God for the gifts of healing and forgiveness, we pray to the Lord…

For all who hunger and thirst for righteousness:  may we work to bring justice to the plight of the poor and oppressed, we pray to the Lord…

For all who lack an adequate supply of clean and safe drinking water:  may the Church, governments, and social service agencies cooperate to solve this HUMANITARIAN crisis, we pray to the Lord…
For every person, who like Zacchaeus, thirsts to meet and know the Lord:  may they trust in the Son of Man who came to seek and save what was lost, we pray to the Lord…


Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,
the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. 

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.


October 2: Over the past five years, Catholic Relief Services has helped more than 2 million people gain access to clean water. Learn about the work CRS is doing and consider a donation to support its work.

October 9: Make a concerted effort not to waste water in your home and consider what other changes you can make to be a better steward of the environment.

October 16: Donate water, juices, or other beverages to a food bank or shelter.

October 23: Spend time with a neighbor or loved one who is thirsting for companionship.

October 30: Donate baby formula to a pregnancy resource center or to another program that supports mothers and their babies.


By: Ruth Oakley, Director of the Office of Missions / CRS

"And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" Matthew 10:42.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) invited 15 diocesan directors to travel with them to visit Mali and Burkina Faso for a firsthand look at the work being done to improve the health of the people in remote areas of the West African countries.  I was privileged to be among the group that traveled there in 2012.

We journeyed during the rainy season, which is viewed as a tremendous blessing for the people of Africa.  We ate a simple lunch by a “brown” river which, I was told, was polluted.  Yet, this same river was the only source of drinking water for many residents!  I saw people washing clothes and filling containers, animals drinking, and children swimming together.  Clean water is a precious gift that most Americans take for granted.

With the help of CRS, large barrels are attached to houses in order to collect run-off from the rain.  In the center of the village, a huge tower was erected, and collected rainwater is pumped by solar energy, sending clean water to the village station.  The water is also directed into a handwashing sink outside the village school where the children are taught good hygiene practices.  As a result of this education, a parent told me that their family now washes their hands before meals and, as a result, has improved health.  Imagine, this simple activity is something we do without thinking!

A parishioner from Saint Michael Parish in Augusta, Alberta Mercier, is working hard to bring clean water to Guatemala.  You can read about her project on our webpage:

Living in Maine, I wondered how I could help others who have no access to clean water!  I am not able to “ship” water overseas.  I do not have the means to send purification equipment, etc.  However, when I stopped to seriously think about this problem, I realized that I could be more mindful about how I use water at home, work, or elsewhere.  

When I returned from Africa, I made a personal commitment not to “waste” water and to support CRS because they can do the practical piece, which I am unable to do; they have the ability to work with those communities that need clean water by partnering with many people and organizations.  CRS, for instance, is helping Alberta’s project in Guatemala with sustainability!  

If you would like to donate, please send your contribution to: Missions/CRS Office, 510 Ocean Ave., Portland, ME 04103 and make your check payable to: CRS with a memo: Water Project.