11 July 2011
15th Week of 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
1. Service Word
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit… .
Probably we have all experienced people who do not respond to our kindness, concern, love: maybe an angry adolescent, a depressed neighbor, an acquaintance clearly falling into unhealthy patterns, a homeless person whose situation seems beyond help, an addict who lies to you (and to himself). You offer the best you have, but can observe no response.
Observing our various efforts in Camden, people sometimes ask us why we give sandwiches to “junkies and bums,” for example. The implication is that people do not deserve the resources and effort that goes into all the outreach here, and that our efforts are not changing things.
In today’s familiar parable, the sower spreads the seed indiscriminately to every type of ground. Every one gets the chance to bear fruit; God does not give up on anyone. Perhaps you have had the experience of persisting with patience, gentleness, honesty, and friendliness, sowing the Word of God, with someone who seemed unpromising, and you got to see the effort pay off. That sort of experience can encourage us to persist, along with the Lord, not to rule out any person as beyond hope.
-Are there people in your life you are tempted to write off as hopeless?
-What helps you persist when results are not evident?
-How do you receive the receive the Word God sends your way?
2. Last Week in Camden
Daniel Gallagher, a volunteer in Camden until July 18, arrived Sunday. He got to work right away with service in the city. And from the beginning he has used his talent as a photographer capturing beauty in our neighborhood—whether it be well kept, brightly painted homes, children playing little league, or ruined houses in a field of abandoned lots. We will post slide shows made from his photos on the DSW website when they are completed.
We hosted a neighborhood meeting about local Northgate Park Thursday, and Saturday participated in an alley clean up sponsored by Rutgers University.
3. Upcoming Events
An multi-generational group for Holy Infant Parish in Durham, NC, arrives by train and by car Tuesday for a week of service and reflection. They will join in the usual DSW summer work. In addition, they will have the opportunity to paint in the school and to work on more fencing in the alley. All projects help our community, and working together—Camdenites, homeless people, and volunteers from middle-class backgrounds—provides a powerful experience for all involved.
God bless you, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS