Service Matters – 11th Week in Ordinary Time

18 June 2012

11th Week in Ordinary Time



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 4

“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;

it is as if someone were to scatter seed on the land

and would sleep and rise night and day

and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,

he knows not how.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit,

first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,

for the harvest has come.”


One St. Francis de Sales quote we always share with groups who come for service and reflection is his observation, “Nothing is small in the service of God.”  In a day, a weekend,  a week, three weeks, or a year, we will likely not solve Camden’s poverty, drug abuse, violence, unemployment, low-self images hiding behind bravado, macho, and street drama.   But we do plant seeds, that may not bring immediate and dramatic change, but touch people, and we can believe lead to a cumulative harvest down the line.


Actor Dick Van Dyke has written about how for decades he was a heavy, addicted drinker.   Over the years, probably a couple hundred times, people said something, confronted him about his drinking, or questioned his behavior.   Finally there was one last encounter that nudged him to see the reality of his life and act on the dependency.   Reflecting back, he credited each of the previous efforts as contributing to a cumulative effect so that the last one could get through to him.


So much of life is about planting seeds.   We do not always see the fruit of our efforts right away.   But we do our best, and leave the growth and fruit—in the end—to God.

-What are some areas of life where you plant without seeing the results immediately?

-How do you see God’s role in growth, ripening, and harvest?
-Have you experienced
ripening and harvest in your life from the investment of others from earlier periods.


2. Last Week in Camden

Monday three Georgetown Visitation grads, now in college, came back for more service.   We are grateful for their initiative and for all the service and encouragement they offered during their stay.  Thanks!


First Lady, Michelle Obama, strongly supports efforts to address the phenomenon of childhood obesity in the United States.   Recently she put out a book promoting healthy eating and home gardening as one way to address the poor diet and lack of movement at the root of over-weight and its consequent health issues.   I picked up the book, entitled American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, and was pleased to see a section about Camden community gardens.    It is great to see something positive in print about our community.   North Camden’s Esperanza Garden is one example of these.



3. Upcoming Events

This week all the East Coast U.S. Oblates gather at DeSales University for our annual convocation.  This year features presentations by Jesuits Myles Sheehan, MD, and Jerry McGlone, as well as by Oblates Ken McKenna and Jim Greenfield—provincial superiors of our two American provinces.   We will all witness the profession of final vows of Oblates Brian Zumbrum and Tim McIntire.


4. Links

Check out Mike Morgan’s blog.    If you have some time also watch interviews with a range of Camden neighbors  recorded by Mary Anne Hayden, one of the interns from May/June.   Her work offers thoughtful glimpses into the complex community that is Camden, NJ.

Peace, Mike McCue, OSFS

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