Works of Mercy

Today, Dave “The Navy Seal of Sitting”’ VanVickle and I sit down with a question from listener, Father Timothy, about how to make disciples and not social workers, focusing on works of mercy.

Snippet from the Show

“Connection is more important than perfection.”


“Christ wants to give us full and complete liberation that starts with feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the imprisoned and the sick. But it culminates in bringing your heart in silence before the throne of God.”


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How to make disciples and not just social workers

  1. Lead the charge, especially in the trenches with them, gaining credibility.
  2. Change the language from “social justice” to “works of mercy”. 
    1. Mercy flows from the heart of Jesus.
  3. Recontextualize the idea of their worship of God. 
    1. Don’t just do the works of Christ, but worship Christ Jesus. It’s not enough to do the works of God without the Spirit of God.
  4. Consistently work with the leaders, specifically through meals with the leadership. 
    1. Luke’s Gospel around chapters 11 or 12 to 16 are all about table fellowship. Start preaching the gospel through specific teachings and invite the leadership and their members to it.
  5. Working with the leaders, lead them in prayer and have that prayer be shaped by a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and repentance. 
    1. Model your own repentance of pride, self-service, etc. for them in prayer. Challenge their sinfulness.
  6. You cannot be as effective as you could if the life of Christ courses through you. 
    1. You as their priest need to work with them and do all of the things together that you agree with, then challenge them to participate beyond their social ministries.

5 Practical Takeaways

  1. Leadership: Look at the biggest or most important service work near you and join it ASAP, not as a leader, but as just another member. Be conscious of your priestly role and how that can automatically shift the balance of power in the room.
  2. Liturgy: Look for things like dedication Masses, Confessions, and Adoration that can be incorporated into meetings, events, and service opportunities.
  3. Language: Plan a month of homilies around the idea of “Works of Mercy” and try to incarnate them in things like the bulletin, emails, newsletters, and the website.
  4. Hospitality: In the next two weeks, reach out to someone in leadership of these social ministries and invite them to a meal that you offer for them. Establish relationships.
  5. Witness: This week, make sure you talk about your own prayer life and how it relates to having the strength and proper intentions behind serving Christ in the least.


Meet Your Hosts


Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.

He is the founder and creative director of, and hosts three Catholic podcasts: Every Knee Shall Bow, Catching Foxes, and Becoming God.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.


David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.

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