The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy directly trace to the many acts of mercy Jesus performed and by His direct teaching in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Mt 25:31-46; CCC 2447); the Work of Mercy to Bury the dead was added to respect the body as a temple of God.

To encourage every Catholic man to perform many Corporal Works of Mercy, the Holy Catholic Church grants an Indulgence for compassionately giving one’s time or goods, in the spirit of faith, to serve those who are in need  (Partial Indulgence MOI Grant 2 of the 4 General Concessions).

Feed the hungry

Many poor souls in the world do not have enough nourishing food to eat, both in modern society as well as in countries with less material riches. Despite the great abundance in modern society and extensive welfare programs, many still go hungry. Every Catholic man is called to help feed the hungry and can do so by contributing food or money to local food shelves, packing food for shipment to poor people in other countries, volunteering to serve food to the needy and the homeless, or by contributing to charities that provide food or farming assistance to third-world countries.

Give drink to the thirsty

Many in high poverty areas around the world suffer from both thirst and many water-borne illnesses because they lack access to sufficient clean water. There are many organizations to which a Catholic man can contribute to build water wells, pipelines for distribution, water purification treatment plants, or provide water purification products. 

Clothe the naked

Even in affluent modern societies, many people, including many children, lack sufficient clothing and shoes, particularly warm clothing and boots during the winter. A Catholic man can lead his family to donate their used clothing and buy and contribute clothing or give money to local or international Catholic Charities to provide clothing to those who need it. 

Shelter the homeless

Many in the modern world are homeless, including those who have lost their homes due to a financial crisis, natural disaster, refugees, immigrants, and the mentally ill. A Catholic man can volunteer to work in homeless shelters to provide food and services, give financially to support Catholic charities which provide shelter for the homeless, or open up his own home to someone who is homeless. 

Visit the sick

One of the great tragedies of modern times is that many of the elderly, sick, and dying experience deep loneliness in their time of crisis because they do not have the blessing of visitors; growing numbers of people die in hospice alone. People who are gravely ill or facing death can be greatly blessed to hear about Jesus and to know they have someone praying for them. Visit and comfort those, especially family and friends, who live alone, in nursing homes, in hospitals or are dying in hospice.  

Visit the imprisoned

There are millions of people, overwhelmingly men, who are justly imprisoned for their crimes, but who have experienced great violence and deprivation as children or have been seduced by the evil culture in which they have been raised; those in prison often suffer from isolation, hopelessness, desperation, intimidation and violence. Many of these men have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Consider volunteering in a Catholic prison ministry to visit of correspond with those in prison; pray for the many tortured souls who are now imprisoned.  

Bury the dead

In modern society, many Catholics do not believe in the truth about the importance of receiving a proper Catholic funeral mass; sadly, growing numbers choose to be cremated and have their ashes spread in unholy pagan rituals. Where possible, seek to encourage and influence those who are dying or planning a service for a deceased loved one to have a Catholic funeral in a parish (CCC 1680-1690); a Catholic burial shows reverence for the dead who have been a temple of the Holy Spirit (CCC 2300) and is an act of faith of the resurrection of the body. Every Catholic man should also do his duty to give the dead a proper burial, to attend funerals and pray for the dead.