12 November 2013
32nd Week in Ordinary Time
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
1. Service Word Luke 21:5-19
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
In the sight of the second temple in Jerusalem, Jesus promotes a living temple: the people of God, dedicated love of God, love of neighbor—love that even extends to the enemy. Stone sanctuaries serve a purpose. Beautiful architecture and art can inspire. We hope time spent with neighbors in this city of crumbling stones, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots inspires Christian love and service.
Last week students here from Williamsburg, VA, erected a cross using as a base many granite blocks thrown down from the abandoned convent near the Cathedral. The building had served as home for thirty-some Sisters of Mercy from the 1930s into the 1980s, then was rented to a city agency. For two decades and counting, it stands on the edge between a promise of restoration and a slide toward demolition. Homeless people and addicts camped in it. Scrappers took away every possible piece of metal. The earthquake caused cracks and brought down part of a wall came down in the earthquake. The city is requiring that the parish take care of it, and at the same time, presenting red tape that keeps us from taking care of the problem.
The cross is in a triangular courtyard bounded by the bare, ruined convent on one side and the Camden Dioceses’ offices on the other. The third side opens to where the needy line up each weekday for our sandwich ministry.
Now a cross stand there, the ultimate symbol of life and promise emerging from defeat and death— inspiration for all of us—needy or middle class—to center our lives in Christ and to stretch our our arms to the least sisters and brothers around us.
-Is there any icon or symbol that ecourages focus and courage in your life?
-What does a cross make you think and feel?
-Can you see yourself, and those closest to you, as part of the larger people of God, God’s temple, so to speak?
2. Last Week in Camden
Monday and Wednesday St. Joseph’s University Magis freshmen service groups were here to work with the grade school kids groups in our after school program. They also heard about life and God in Camden via summer intern Maryanne Hayde’s video interviews.
Seventeen students and four adults from Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg, VA, spent Thursday to Sunday here. The group painted a woman’s run down home (while singing), cleared a lot near the new site of Joseph’s House, and joined in a NJ Tree Foundation planting, among other things. Wednesday the singer Jon Bon Jovi visited the new Joseph’s House site to generate support for this effort to assist our homeless neighbors in Camden City.
Saturday, Cristo Rey students and youth from Our Mother of Consolation Parish joined in work at our grammar school playground. OMC donated a great soft play surface for the school playground.
3. Upcoming Events
A frequent speaker to DSW groups, Rick Phillip and three guys from a recovery house in Kensington, Philadelphia, began work on landscaping at Joseph’s House of Camden.
Another Magis groups will come Tuesday late afternoon. Sallies homerooms will visit Thursday and Friday.
Saturday Boy Scouts of the Camden Diocese, a Cristo Rey group, Holy Name Scholars will be here. We will be a part of big tree planting near Holy Name School and will have the opportunity to work on landscaping at the new Joseph’s House site.
Please remember Joseph’s House director, John Klein’s son, also named John, in your prayers. He is in hospice care after a battle with cancer.
Have a good week,
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS