Service Matters – 27th Week of Ordinary Time

3 October 2011

27th 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   Philippians 4:6-9

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.   That the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, sisters and brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.   Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.   Then the God of peace will be with you.


Doesn’t this reading lay out a balanced and trust-filled picture of a spiritual life?   If it were not clear that St. Paul wrote it, I would try to say Francis de Sales did.   It just expresses so well a Christian approach to the bedrock reality of life: God holds us in his hands.


Last Saturday a group from Villanova University with some neighbors did a great job clearing up our alley, filling a large construction dumpster.   I should have scheduled the pick up for that same day, because by Monday it was piled very high and surrounded with loads more refuse.   Anxiety took over my mind and heart; all I could think about was how the alley was worse that when we started.   More mattresses had appeared, soiled carpet remnants, broken furniture and toys, garbage bags, and wet, undistinguished junk was everywhere— “One step forward, two steps back,” it seemed.


Stepping away from the initial discouragement, we came up with a plan to get another dumpster, to talk to neighbors about contributing to the cost, and to share information about the city trash pick up services.    God always works on us to form our hearts and minds to see with his perspective—to keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in the Lord, saints, and people of faith.


In times of anxiety and lack of balance are you able to deliberately entrust concerns to God?

-How do you experience the peace of God?   —the God of peace?

-Whom do you teach, share, speak, and show things worthy of praise?



2. Last Week in Camden 

Monday, Wednesday and Friday students from Salesianum School in Wilmington, DE, were here serving and reflecting.   Friday one group began a “rain garden.”   The project basically involved taking a garden bed shaped like a mound into one more like a valley.   This design helps more rain get absorbed into the planet where it lands, rather than flowing away to rivers and oceans via storm water sewers.  A rain garden provides moisture for plants in the location and allows water to be filtered by passing through layers of earth.


The digging raised questions for many neighbors passing by, and the students got to demonstrate their understanding of the project.   No matter what we do, it is amazing how many people take a moment to communicate interest and encouragement.


3. Upcoming Events 

More Sallies groups are here this week, and Father Judge freshmen begin service retreats as well.   A group from Williamsburg, Virginia’s, Wallsingham Academy will be here for the long Columbus Day weekend.


4. Links

Check out the DSW website    and to read essays on a range of topics from the Peace & Justice Blog.    Also see other developing resources: Facebook page-    Camden experience blog by Mike Morgan-


Two of my favorite saints have feasts this week: St. Francis of Assisi, October 4th, and St. Bruno, Oct. 6th.


Please remember James, Brendan, Nameem, Peaches, AJ, Steven, Lori, and Iris in your prayers.


Peace,  Mike McCue, OSFS
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