Service Matters – 9th Week in Ordinary Time

4 June 2012

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
  •  Links


1. Service Word      Matthew 28:16-20  

When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them,

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father,

and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”


On days that break 90 degrees in this city, you can look down most any street, and on one block or another you will see water blasting from an open fire plug.   Neighbors tie plywood scraps to the hydrants to channel the flow up into the air and on to the street.  Cold, sparkling water streams into the bright, summer sky, making rainbows in the spray, flooding gutters, and washing away litter.   Without a doubt this is not an efficient use of a valuable resource, but it brings  extravagant beauty and cooling to hot, tough streets.   Children take over, running through the spray, splashing, and playing.


We are baptized with water in the name of our God, three and one, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.   This ancient ritual signifies the reality that we belong to God and that we bear the image of our Creator—who can best be understood as “community,” so to speak—all about relationship, all about love.  Baptism points us in the direction to realize that our deepest life, and most real orientation that mirrors this Trinity God.


-What reminds you of your baptism, your belonging to God?

-Are there moments or events that get you to stop and celebrate innocence and fun?

-What “cools you down” or reminds you of  “who you are” when you face tough, hot situations?



2. Last Week in Camden  

Students from Our Lady of Victory Parish in D.C. were here for three packed days of service and reflection.   Religious education director, Jill Kalinski, and eight grade teacher, Meghan Meyer, lead the group with the help of four very motivated high school students.  Working with kids at the parish grade school and in Northgate Park was everyone’s favorite activity.

Saturday morning eight girls from Georgetown Visitation, lead by service director Hadley Walsh and her husband, Jack, began their 24 hours here.   We also jumped right into labor, interactions with neighbors, and reflection.

Our six interns completed their second week of service; they are doing great work in the community and seem very much at home.   Each morning they work together on one of various projects, and then, after lunch, each has an individual project.    This pattern allows them to sample many aspect of life and service in Camden and then go into depth in a particular area.



3. Upcoming Events

For the interns this last week will have more work and adventure including dinner with the Oblates and some art exercises with Oblate Mickey McGrath.    I will miss that Oblate gathering, since I’ll be at Bishop Ireton High School’s graduation.   There will be mention of Camden in the baccalaurate homily, I bet.


Early Saturday morning, 7:00 to 11:00 the planning group for Joseph’s House homeless effort will meet with a facilitator to develop a plan to move the homeless project forward.   The need is so great; just around the Cathedral there are more than a dozen people camped out each night.   It will be great to be able to sent people to a program with immediate shelter and connections for long-term remedies for homelessness, unemployment, addiction, and all the rest.



4. Links

I was going to recommend a series in Commonweal magazine dealing with some U.S. bishops’ concerns about religious liberty and with U.S. sisters—with characteristic fairness and insight, but their whole online publication has so much to offer.   Check it out.    America magazine  online is also helpful.


Have a great week,

Father Mike McCue, OSFS

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