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Catholic Schools in the Year of Mercy: Clothe the Naked

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

September 14, 2016




“Catholic Schools in the Year of Mercy:  Clothe the Naked”

At least since the Fourth of July, stores, catalogues, and online advertisers have been promoting back-to-school specials of every kind.  Students and their families, from prekindergarten through high school, are drawn into a culture that directly and indirectly correlates the “right” personal look with acceptance and success.  Even in Catholic schools where uniforms are required, it’s almost impossible to deny the role of clothing and style in school life.


It’s hard for many of us to imagine what life would be like without a wardrobe adaptable for seasonal change, different occasions, and even stage of life.  Clothing, like food, is both essential and supplemental to our health. 


Shoes, for example, are not luxuries.  Several years ago a principal told me that the children in some of her families had limited footwear among them and sometimes had to take turns coming to school because there weren’t enough shoes to go around.  On the other hand, I once taught a high school student, now a social worker, who confided that she was embarrassed by the fullness of her closet.  We all probably understand her feeling but also struggle to know how to share our many material gifts in meaningful ways.


This month the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s focus for the Jubilee Year of Mercy is the Corporal Work of Mercy, “Clothe the Naked.” I encourage you to watch this video in   which Father Ken Omernick, Archdiocesan Missionary of Mercy, describes, in a most touching way, a teacher he once knew who reached out to her students and lovingly practiced this Corporal Work of Mercy.


Jubilee Year of Mercy: "Clothe the Naked"


In all our Catholic schools during this month of September, let us join with our brothers and sisters throughout the archdiocese in living out the Corporal Work of Mercy, “Clothe the Naked,” by:


  • Helping to “Stuff the Bus” with shoes for the St. Vincent de Paul Society at our upcoming Soles for Catholic Education Walk.


  • Actively supporting the ministries of Catholic Charities Milwaukee, Capuchin Community Services, and other Catholic social service organizations especially during the difficult winter months ahead.


  • Spiritually clothing ourselves and others each day, in our Catholic schools and in every aspect of our lives, with virtues:

“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and beloved, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”  Col:  3:12-17


A blessed Jubilee Year of Mercy to all!

Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

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