Service Matters – 10th Week in Ordinary Time

11 June 2012

St. Barnabas, Apostle



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   Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

… he took bread, said the blessing,

broke it, gave it to them, and said,

“Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,

and they all drank from it.

He said to them,

“This is my blood of the covenant,

which will be shed for many.


It is nothing less than amazing that Christians have broken bread week after week, in memory of the Lord, since New Testament times.   The structure, style, and language of the ritual has varied across cultures and generations.    In fact English speakers experienced significant change this year with a new translation of prayers for Mass.


One of the most challenging of the new wordings comes at the heart of the Eucharistic Prayer, in the center of Mass.   Now we pray over the cup: “take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood … which will be poured out for you and for many …”    Many is the difficult word; since it replaces “all” in the old translation and now could easily be misunderstood to be suggesting that Christ died only for some—not all.


I bring this up because preachers and teachers are required to provide “significant explanation and sensitive pastoral catechesis” so that no one thinks that this translation suggests that the Lord’s love and sacrifice does not extend out to everyone.    The new wording can be found in two of the four gospels and really is intended to communicate that God does not force anyone to receive his grace and friendship.   (Cardinal Francis Arinze has a helpful explanation of this.)


I also bring it up because Camden is home to many people who seem outside expectation of hope or progress.   But God teaches us that no neighbor is outside the embrace of his love and power for good.


-Are there people you write off as beyond hope or help?

-What are some ways you deal with individuals who plainly need more than you are able to give?

-How do you respond and cooperate with the love of Christ poured out for your life?


2. Last Week in Camden

Saturday morning the planning board for Joseph’s House met to reflect on how to move the homeless shelter project forward.   The meeting gave us opportunity to refine our intentions and goals.   We recommitted to working to “solve homelessness in Camden,” as one draft of our mission statement phrases it.


Sunday our six interns, Mary, Mike, Alex, Maryanne, Lisa, and Tim, completed their three weeks in Camden with a lunch and presentation about their work here.  Mike Morgan hosted the gathering and offered a fine summary of the intentions and accomplishments of the internship for families and new Camden friends and co-workers.   We gave each intern a cross that Michael fashioned from a wood that features dramatic contrasts between dark and shiny grains.   This design reflects our neighborhood with many problems, along side so much good.

The interns composed an ode to Mike in gratitude for the experience, and we concluded by walking to the community garden to bless the mural that had been a big project of the three weeks.

Thanks to Mike Morgan and Rachal Allen for their work and guidance and to Tim Gallageher for being a part of the project as well.



3. Upcoming Events

Monday three Georgetown Visitation grads arrived to begin three days of service here.   Each has served in Camden before, while at Visi, but now during their summer off from college, each is back for more.


4. Links

Check out Mike Morgan’s blog.

I apologize for the lateness of the newsletter today—I was a bit behind.   Have a great week!


Mike McCue, OSFS

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