Service Matters – 4th Week of Lent

19 March 2012

St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Mother

4th Week of Lent


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

De Sales 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 9:1-41

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, 

that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered,

“Neither he nor his parents sinned; 

it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.


This gospel scene makes very clear that there is not a direct connection between sin and bad things that happen to people—as some sort of punishment.   But sin definitely has effects.   Mistakes, poor choices, missteps affect our lives and those of people around us.


There are so many people I could write about whose lives are severely restricted by past choices and events—Camden is a place where a lot of life is out in the open.    There can be posturing and tough exteriors, but reality lies close to the surface.    But an amazing experience comes from people whose horizons are not deadened by situations they might be stuck in.


Yesterday, walking near the transportation center in Camden, I encountered two people we know from Joseph’s House homeless cafe.  Rose greeted me warmly, “Isn’t this a great day!   I’m just back from church; good to see you!”   And Thomas, a guy with very labored speech I’ve written about before; he was on a bench in the sun, friendly and positive as ever—“blessed”— as he always puts it.    I imagine some of positive language encountered here comes from efforts of people to convince themselves.   Or it could be a way to get others not to worry or pity.   However, there seems to be a way of looking at life that takes the reality of the moment and chooses to focus on “blessings”—works of God—rather than on what is missing.


Zach Ryan, a service leader from Salesianum, shared a great quote from Albert Einstein that describes this attitude, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”


-Are there sins or burdens from the past that impact your current life?
-What is miracle and blessing—
work of God—visible in your daily situation?

-Where are the biggest challenges bringing realistic optimism to your day?



2. Last Week in Camden

Friday the faculty of Salesianum School, the Oblate high school in Wilmington, DE, traveled in three yellow school buses here for a Lenten service retreat.    All the school’s juniors and seniors have been here; it is great that the teachers and support staff got to have the same experience.   Oblate Matt Hillyard, rector of the Cathedral, told about life in the city, and four students who had been here twice before connected Salesian concepts with Camden insights.   Everyone got to participate in the projects students engage in during there retreats here.


3. Upcoming Events

DSW is sponsoring internship programs.   See the flyer below for more information about this program designed to give the opportunity to work in the community this summer.


Wednesday high school students from Walsingham Academy, a school sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in Williamsburg, Va., arrive for service retreat.     They travel by train and will get to work in the beautiful spring weather.


Romero Center is an effort like DeSales Service Works located in nearby East Camden.   Each year they celebrate the life of Oscar Romero with a day long workshop, ending with a keynote lecture on a topic related to Catholic Social Teaching.   This year’s discussion takes place Friday and is entitled,  Politics and the Pew: Your Faith, Your Vote & the 2012 Election, and features Catholic University’s Stephen Schneck.    Call 856-964-9777 or email  for more information.


4. Links

Check the DeSales Service Works website and to read essays on a range of topics from the Peace & Justice Blog.    Also see other resources: Facebook page-    Mike Morgan’s blog-


Thanks, Father Mike McCue, OSFS

DeSales Service Works

2012 Summer Interns program

“Nothing Is small in the service of GOD!” st. Francis De Sales

Other Benefits

We work together for a better Camden and the city works on

us to help see  beyond differences and dangers.

Eye opening and rewarding life experiences:

  • Sandwich ministry for the hungry
  • Holy Name School
  • Plan and run events in Northgate Park and

Esperanza community garden

  • Home blessings with Sister Claire …and many more!

* Live in a community of

service and social justice

minded young people


* Experience a vibrant culture

and community in the people

of  N. Camden


* Community Service credits

towards your school


* Life changing experiences!!!

For an Application or more

information  contact us at:


Must be 18 or older

Dates Available:


Session 1: May 20-June 10 


Session 2: July 2-July 22 

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment