Service Matters – 24th Week of Ordinary Time

12 September 2011

24th 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
  • Links


1. Service Word   Sirach 27:30-28:7

Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.


My plan for 9/11/2011 was to stay away from the many remembrances on TV, newspaper, and radio.  It is just too sad.  However, in the evening, driving, I gave in and listened to NPR recordings of people reflecting on their memory of the day.   What struck me was the positive attitude—and faith—of people who either directly lost loved ones or were immersed in the recovery effort.   Why were they not bitter and small—living with such awful losses?   Who could blame them if destructions and grief eclipsed all else.   I bet there are days—weeks, months, even years—when darkness overshadows their lives.  Maybe they recorded their best side to highlight that, to share it to help up lift others.


What ever the case, the people I heard on the radio Sunday do not hug tight their anger and wrath, to use the image from Sirach.  Equally clearly, those behind terror and violence let their anger and wrath rule the day, hugging hateful things tight instead of opening their arms to let go and to embrace the good God wants for us all.


-Have you observed in yourself or others the tendency Sirach notes to hold wrath and anger close?

-What reasons lead to embracing hateful things rather than opening up in trust, forgiveness, faith, or simply putting one foot in front of the other in a positive direction?

-Is there any situation—with others or with yourself—where forgiveness might change your approach?


2. Last Week in Camden 

The DSW team worked hard, continuing to prepare for the new school year.   Note some fruit of Rachel Allen’s and Mike Morgan’s labor in the “Links” section below.   The website now has an up to date calendar.   We also continued to make upgrades to the house—some made urgent by the recent abundance of rain.


Rachel, Mike, Tim Gallagher, and I traveled to Washington, DC, Friday for a get-away retreat.   Topics included prayer, and reflection on why we are doing what we are doing.    We enjoyed the hospitality of the De Sales Hall Oblates—in particular DSW supporters Bob Killian and Ryan Cronshaw.   A highlight was visiting the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial on the National Mall.   Hundreds of people were there taking advantage of the sunny weather to honor this inspiring American.


I got to visit with supporters Rhonda and Mike Gallagher one evening for dinner.   Their son Daniel volunteered with us in Camden for a week and a half in the summer.


3. Upcoming Events 

Tuesday and Thursday groups of  Salesianum juniors with Patrick Kifolo will begin Salesian service retreats.   Wednesday groups of Sallies sophomores will be here lead by Mike Vogt.   Thursday a group from Bishop Ireton High School will come to Camden for three day of service.


Saturday DSW will host an open house for supporters and friends.   If you are around, you are welcome to come by.    We hope to have home improvements completed by then.


4. Links

In this section we always invite readers to read further at the DSW website  and to read essays on a range of topics from the Peace & Justice Blog. Now Rachel Allen and Mike Morgan offer more links; check them out:

Have a good week, Father Mike McCue, OSFS

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