3 June 2013
Sts. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
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
1. Service Word Luke 7:11
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst, ”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
For years the old Holy Name Parish (now merged with two others to become the new Cathedral Parish) sponsored a vibrant Little League in North Camden. So often we meet guys in their late twenties who talk about Fr. Mark and the great baseball program that flourished for years in this neighborhood. However, personnel transfers and passage of time caused it to die out.
Little League is back in North Camden and ready to start a third season with dedicated coaches, and happy teams—from little kids’ t-ball to the “big league” for older teens. DSW friend, Bryan Morton is the man behind the resurrection.
Bryan has brought baseball back with pride and energetic style. Opening Day last year began at City Hall with recognition from city leadership and then continued with a parade through North Camden to the baseball fields. A Brazilian jazz band lead the procession of the teams in uniform and parents in cars. They took the streets from the drug sellers and buyers and made it small town USA for the length of the parade. Or to put it another way, Opening Day showed that under the harsh surface, North Camden really has many small town qualities. Often the dysfunction of the drug trade and poverty clouds over the positive reality.
Of course any life-giving effort isn’t just the shining moments like that parade. Day after day coaches mentor and coach; young people practice, play, and compete; parents and supporters take care of all that makes the program work.
Saturday we joined in one behind-the-scenes effort, restoring the baseball field that serves the t-ball teams. Grass had taken over the diamond, and there was broken glass and trash scattered around. Bryan recruited DSW, some parents and coaches, and other community members to bring the park back to good order.
A journalist, Jill, was also there to work in the hot sun and to research a story of the impact of this organizing for baseball in a struggling neighborhood. She originally came here to write an article about Camden’s new police force for New Republic but discovered what she feels is a more interesting story. Her observations will be great to see in print in GQ in the fall; she will spend the whole summer to learn enough to tell the full, rich story.
We always say it: the violence, trash, drug trade, dysfunction always gets reported in media and are set as Camden’s image. But there is so much more going on here!
-Are there any areas in your daily life where Jesus’ command, “Arise,” is be good advice and life-giving command?
-What good news can you observe and report that points to God’s presense in our midst?
-What moves you to pity—sadness and compassion—and beyond that to action?
2. Last Week in Camden
The Summer Internship Program participants, Kelly Carr, Molly Easton, Alex Meier, Andrew Phillips, and Meg Stabler all had a great week. Mike Morgan guided them in service and learning opportunities each day. And also each day they worked at their individual projects.
Guadalupe Family Services’ fundraiser Friday on the Philly waterfront provided a great opportunity for various Camden supporters to come together. We all enjoyed great hosting by Sr. Helen Cole, SSJ, Tim Gallagher — and the whole GFS team!
3. Upcoming Events
Monday the graduating eight graders from Our Lady of Victory in Washington will be here for three days of service and reflection. This makes the third time the school has come here for a kind of “alternative graduation trip.” In addition to all our on-going projects, they will get to assist Northgate Park’s new bike sharing program, painting murals on the bike storage barn.
Project HOPE where Ethan Stortz works assisting homeless people in accessing medical care, has fund raiser this Friday. Supporters will gather for an evening of local Camden Riversharks baseball to support the compassionate work of Project HOPE.
I don’t want to leave out the Pope this week with his Corpus Christi reflections on the Body of Christ.
Have a good week,