Service Matters – 20th Week in Ordinary Time

15 August 2010

The Assumption of Blessed Mary

20th Week in Ordinary Time



  • DeSales Service Works
  • Service Word
  • Last Week in Camden
  • Upcoming Events
  • Blog


1. DeSales Service Works

DeSales Service Works is a project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, that welcomes volunteers join us in prayer, work and reflection in our struggling neighborhood.


2. Service Word   Luke1:39-56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste

to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.   When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leapt in her womb, and Elizabeth,

filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of you womb.   And how does this happen to me,

that the mother of my Lord should come to me?   For at the moment the sound

of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leapt for joy.   Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”


Quite a few people sleep around our church in the open air, especially during the summer.   Most are homeless guys—and women— and people who were too high or too drunk to find their way out of Camden the night before.    One morning this past week, I was outside when one of these guys woke up.   Right away he realized that his socks were missing; he had taken them off to sleep.   He said to me, “someone stole my socks.”  Then he went on to say—“I guess they needed them more than me.”


His comment struck me because it was the last thing I would expect from someone in his situation—waking up from sleeping on cardboard, outdoors, in the summer heat.


Camden has a long list of dysfunctions and difficulties.   For decades we have ranked as one of the poorest U.S. cities; we were listed as most violent per capita in 2009; we have empty lots, abandoned houses, high dropout rate, drug trade, addiction, etc., etc.   I think you can hear about what is wrong with this city and expect to experience a grim and serious place.   Without a doubt, negative abounds.   However, so often there are moments like the one I experienced with the sock-less young man that surprise and uplift.    There really is much good, much humor, much endeavoring to make good out of the “hand dealt.”


This feast of the Assumption invites us to see the example of Mary who looks at life with utter faith in God—and in God’s power and goodness, God’s providence.    Are there any areas in our lives now where we might be engaging in avoidance or procrastination?    Can Mary’s going “in haste” encourage energy and generosity in any area of our lives?   Does our faith help us find joy in all circumstances (or at least look for it)?


3. Last Week in Camden

We did not host a group here last week, but a generous and adventurous couple from Good Shepherd Parish in Alexandria, VA, Ed and Ellie, came for a couple days of service and reflection.    In fact Monday, they got the experience of being two thirds of the sandwich ministry staff—along with regular volunteer, Anthony Fuchs.


The DSW section of Oblate website is undergoing an upgrade thanks to Oblate I.T. man, Ed Cody.   The new DSW movie is posted there.  It gives a great picture of what DSW is all about through the voices and images of people who have been here.   Check it out.  The movie lasts 4.12 minutes and stars Sr. Claire Sullivan, IHM; so you can’t go wrong.    It is the work of recent De Sales University graduates, Brandon Pousley and Tim Gallagher.


4. Upcoming Events

27 August DSW year-long volunteers arrive in Camden

-Small Group High School Salesian Service Retreats:

Tuesdays and Thursdays in the fall, all Salesianum seniors and in early 2011, all juniors.

Fr. Judge freshmen in groups beginning in October until March.


5. Peace and Justice Blog

Check out Oblate justice advisor Pat Kennedy’s blog.  There are postings on Catholic social teaching and immigration and the environment, as well as more DSW & Camden experiences.


 Thanks, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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