Service Matters – 26th Week in Ordinary Time

1 October 2013

26th Week in Ordinary Time

St. Theresa, the Little Flower


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, 

DeSales 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      2nd Letter to Timothy1:6-8


I remind you to stir into flame

the gift of God that you have 


Sixth Street in our neighborhood has the unofficial name, “Heroin Highway” because of the steady flow of foot traffic to and from the concentration of dealers in the northern section of North Camden.   Addicts make their way there and then back toward downtown, public transportation, and the rest of the world —to acquire funds for the next trip.


On the street ready to make the left turn into our alley, I encountered a young guy lingering the on the sidewalk.   When I got close enough, he looked in my direction and said, “Can I have fifty cents.”   No greeting.   No introduction.   Utility, hand out trolling for funds for his  unending pilgrimage to the drug dealer and his high.


I said, “You know, I have a name.”   I gave him my name and made him shake my hand.   I asked his name and gave him my standard response for money requests: “No money.”  It all came out like a rebuke, correction.


I got a half dozen steps into the alley, when turned around to explain my rebuke.   “Hey brother, I wasn’t trying to be a jerk.   You know people forget to have respect out here—-we are all people.”


As always, I have no idea what impact this type of small encounter has—especially on anyone driven by addiction, deadened by the poison of opiates, alcohol, pills, or pot.    But I think we can take the image from St. Paul and stir into flame—or at least stir—believing that even the most lost individual has the gift of God.


-What sort of practice, event, or person stirs your faith.

-Are their people in you environment whose life seems out?

-What gift of God are you most aware of today?



2. Last Week in Camden

Saturday morning three groups crossed paths at 522 State Street.   Bishop Ireton High School  had arrived Thursday was finishing up their time here.   Cristo Rey and a Villanova service day group arrived and began work in the park.   Rick Phillip and two women and one other man from “The Last Stop” recovery house were here to also work and to share about addiction and recovery.



3. Upcoming Events

First year students from St. Joseph’s University will be here Wednesday late afternoon.   Sallies homeroom comes Thursday.  Rutgers University Camden nurses and Padua Academy serve here Friday.   Saturday a group from Father Judge and Cristo Rey will serve together.



4. Links

The Pope Francis gave another interview this week with an Italian newspaper, offering more healthy, mainstream, Catholic Christianity to readers.  Read the La Repubblica interview here.


The feast of St. Francis of Assisi is October 4th.

Pax et Bonum,

Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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