Service Matters – 30th Week in Ordinary Time

28 October 2013

30th Week in Ordinary Time

Saints Simon and Jude


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, 

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

Now a man there named Zacchaeus,

who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,

was seeking to see who Jesus was;

but he could not see him because of the crowd,

for he was short in stature. 

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,

who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,

for today I must stay at your house.” 

And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,

“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 


In places like Camden need is plain to see, exposed like the gospel’s out of breath, well-dressed man up a tree.    And sycamores are huge and wide open trees, no place to go unnoticed.


Whether it is a team young men out on the sidewalk all the time, weathered women on the corner, cheerful guys with malt liquor on their breath morning and night, people sleeping on cardboard in the parking lot, suburbanites shooting up in the alley, a dad in county jail, five hundred adults getting sandwiches from our downtown church, or three year old Newel and his five year old cousin Jandie watched by their first grader Uncle JJ in the park—need and sin are out in the open here.    Goodness is here too.


The Lord stays in our sinful, painful, wonderful neighborhoods.   Jesus does not send the sinner away.   He is here with healing, with his call to turn away from dead-end sin and turn to the good news.


-Where is need found in your environment?

-Can you confess any dead-end behavious, choices, or attitudes in your life? 

-How do you handle sinners?



2. Last Week in Camden

From Thursday late afternoon to Saturday morning, students from Bishop Ireton High School served, prayed, and learned here.   They accomplished a lot, especially bonding with kids at the playground and basketball court.   As Ireton was leaving, ten students from Cristo Rey High School Philadelphia arrived and worked clearing overgrown lots around the community garden.


Sunday afternoon young Claire Moxey and Kelly Doezbacher brought food for the poor that they had collected on their block in Chestnut Hill, Phila.   Also from Chestnut Hill, Oblate Bob Bazzoli and two teen members of the OMC parish council visited North Camden to prepare for a project here in early November.   They plan to install a soft play surface for the playground in the parish.



3. Upcoming Events

Anywhere you go in the Delaware Valley there are highway bill boards, bumper stickers, placards on the subway and buses promoting St. Joseph’s University with the single word, magis.    It is a Latin word used in the Jesuit tradition to talk about the expansiveness of God and the call that we have to think big, to be generous and full of faith, to go out of ourselves and to push the bounds of our comfort zones.   It’s a great concept, and it’s great to see it posted in unexpected places.

Monday and Wednesday groups of students from St. Joe’s in a program that takes its name from St. Ignatius’ concept will serve here.   They are two of five Magis groups who benefit from our new partnership with the University.


An umbrella agency for Catholic ministry in North Camden, Holy Name of Camden Ministries, will honor Susan Mackey at a dinner Tuesday.   Our parish outreach coordinator works with her team and with Cathedral rector, Matt Hillyard, getting food to the hungry, lost, and needy who come to us each weekday.   Susan deserves great credit for making it all work: organizing volunteers, gathering food, and treating guests to her South Philly mix of humor and toughness—Salesian gentle strength.

Thursday a Salesianum School homeroom will be here.   I join Cristo Rey on Friday for their All Saints Day Mass.   Saturday Temple University alums and Cristo Rey kids will be here in the morning to participate in neighborhood tree plantings—among other things.


Saturday night is the Oblates’ annual fundraiser, Black Ties for White Collars, in Wilmington.   All are welcome; it’s a good time for a great cause.



4. Links

Saturday’s Oblate fund/friend raiser will be fun.   Come if you are free Saturday.


Thank you!

Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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