Service Matters – Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord


8 April 2013

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

Second Week of Easter


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, 

DeSales Service Works welcomes volunteers to join 

in service, prayer, and learning in our struggling neighborhood.



  •  Service      Word
  •  Last      Week in Camden
  •  Upcoming      Events
  •  Links


1. Service Word   John 20:19-31

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We also will come with you.”

So they went out and got into the boat,

but that night they caught nothing.

When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;

but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”

They answered him, “No.”

So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat

and you will find something.”


Last week, on Easter, I wrote about being discouraged by lack of progress—particularly with two guys here who were doing so well, but who both relapsed into drug use.   I tried to put that sadness into the context of the reality that there are no “quick fixes” here —or really anywhere.


This gospel scene gives us Jesus on the beach encouraging and challenging Peter and the other disciples to “keep at it,” to try a new way, to go deeper.  God is behind all good impulses and inspirations, whether we are aware or not.   Compassion for the peril of others, discomfort with injustice, unfairness, evil are all evidence of God’s action in us.   Questions, striving for good, dreaming for better can be God at work.


Out of faith—or maybe desperation—the fishermen try again, and it turns out to be a move inspired by the Lord.   Clearly they did not forget that experience, because they preserved the memory and passed it on to us.


This week walking to North Camden from the Cathedral downtown, I met Greg, one more guy who struggles mightily with addiction.   We have talked a lot, and he has a gracious way about him.    Whether homeless or staying in a shelter, he is always meticulously groomed and well dressed.   Greeting me, my hands must have felt cold, because he offered me his gloves, saying he has another pair.   I took them and wear them as a reminder of grace and kindness amid struggle, defeat, and seeming hopeless odds.

-What memories or reminders do you keep to help remind you to hope?

-Can you observe God at work in you?

-Is there any area of life where you can follow the Lord’s advice to his fishermen friends?


2. Last Week in Camden

From Tuesday evening to Friday morning, students from Holy Family Parish in Newark, Delaware, were here for service and reflection.    They made a mural, cleaned an alley, served sandwiches, helped with a community garden.   They got to do it all in newly arrived spring weather.   Thursday and Friday Maria and Christina Johnson, a mother and daughter from near-by Bishop Eustace High School, joined them for service.



3. Upcoming Events

Salesianum, Father Judge and Bishop Ireton high schools will all be here this week.    Holy Name Scholars with Lourdes Gonzales and Tim Gallagher will work with the New Jersey Tree Foundation planting trees on Saturday.



4. Links

DeSales Service Works Summer Internship

Live and work for three weeks serving in community and with our neighbors.   Participants focus on one main project and work together on other projects to get a broad sense of life in this city.     Projects include running a summer camp in the park, home visits, community gardening, and education.

This year’s dates are: Session I May 26-June 16  Session II July 7-28.

Check out blog entries from last year Summer Internship Program. For more information contact

program director, Mike Morgan, at

or call Fr. Mike McCue at 215-582-1666


Mike Morgan writes from Benin:

“The contact email for Interns that’s on the flyer ( has been disabled by G-Mail because they thought I was hacking it from Africa.   Hence, when people send applications, the email gets sent back to them—which is frustrating.”


Raphaël Garagnon and Mike Morgan offer pictures and other reflections from Benin in western Africa.   Mike also has a blog: Boy Meets Benin with more pictures and observations.




Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS.


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