Skip Throwback Thursday for Mercy Friday

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As part of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is setting an example for the world by carving out time to perform works of mercy. There are countless "mercy" activities coming out of the Vatican, and at the diocesan and parish level, but the thought of the leader of the church personally doing a work of mercy one Friday a month without the press, without Swiss Guards, without fanfare, is a powerful visual.

And isn't that how works of mercy should be done - quietly, humbly, hoping to make a difference? Just having the pope show up makes a difference, but his ministry of presence - spending time with people as one-on-one as possible for the leader of the Catholic church - shows the importance he places on living out the Year of Mercy.

Last week, Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the San Carlo Community, a Catholic drug rehab facility outside Rome. Catholic News Service reports that he arrived in his compact Ford Escort with just a driver, and he spent two hours visiting the 55 residents.

Last month, he visited a home for the aged and a facility caring for people in persistent vegetative states. In December, he opened a "door of charity" at a Rome diocesan soup kitchen.

His plans are not announced in advance, and the media is not invited. But once he's arrived at the location, the Vatican releases the details, and the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, shares its photos.

Mercy Friday. What can we do with that? We pounce on Facebook to share old photos on Throwback Thursday and share favorite songs on Tune Tuesday, but think of the possibilities with Mercy Friday.

We could call an elderly friend or send a card with a photo. We could drop off a bag of food at the parish pantry. We could ask a friend to go to daily Mass with us.

The diocesan Office of Youth Ministry is posting Year of Mercy stories with a #MomentsofMercy hashtag on Facebook, and some Catholics are jumping on the alliteration of Mercy Monday.

Whichever day or hashtag you choose, wouldn't it be neat if these "random acts of kindness" went viral and had a shelf life longer than just the Year of Mercy?

Share your suggestions for Mercy Friday here or tweet them to @acatholicherald with the hashtag #MercyFriday.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016

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