Service Matters – 3rd Week of Easter

23 April 2012

Monday of 3rd Week of Easter


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  Luke 24

… He stood in their midst and said to them,

“Peace be with you.”

But they were startled and terrified

and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?

And why do questions arise in your hearts?

Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.


Why does Jesus’ body, risen from the dead, still carry the wounds of Good Friday on his hands and feet and on his side?   In fact the Lord offers these marks as the way to recognize him, to assure the disciples of his real presence.  They seem to become, post-Easter, part of his identity, like fingerprints or memory.


Maybe this is because part of being human means bearing the experiences of our lives with us as we go forward.  Don’t the events of our lives imprint themselves on us?   These marks show in our bodies, the way we carry ourselves, the way we feel inside; they inhabit our memories and imaginations—haunting or uplifting.   They can color our character, personality, impact on our “default” approach to life in the world.


This is not simply a passive process.   Jesus could present his wounds as reason for self-pity and for wallowing in defeat.   He could come to evoke guilt and to seek vengeful “justice.”   Instead he actively chooses another way.  Interpretation is so important: for Christ the five marks signify a deep peace and healing, wisdom, Life and Love prevailing over all the small, dark options that could be chosen.


Whatever our background, we are marked.   But in this poor community the wounds are so clear to see:   homelessness, mental illness, addiction, prostitution, drug dealing, tough guy—“gangster”— posturing, illiteracy are open wounds all too visible here on so many neighbors.   We join with the risen Lord and with all working for good in Camden standing in the midst and helping lift the crosses of our severely wounded neighbors.


What marks do your bear as you go through life?

-Can you stand in the midst with the Lord and offer peace?

-What are some ways you help your neighbor, at home or afar, to bear their burdens?



2. Last Week in Camden

Monday through Wednesday twenty high school juniors and four staff members from the Maine based Trekker Program stayed at the DSW house.   They were participating in an East Coast college visit bus trip.


DSW community member Mike Morgan is a 2010 Virginia Tech grad.   Monday he invited coworkers and neighbors to prayer celebrating the lives of those who died April 16, 2007.   We gave thanks for the community at Tech that came together at that tragic time.   It was powerful and important to remember and pray.


Camden Oblate Matt Hillyard, and Dr. Randy Eyles, Bishop Ireton’s music director, organized a great visit by members of the Alexandria, Virginia, high school’s jazz ensemble.  Friday morning they gave a concert at our grade school, highlighting various instruments and encouraging questions from the students.  They brought athletic equipment that their classmates had collected to donate.    The band also played at a neighborhood nursing home, and then joined the regular music ministry for Mass Sunday morning.


Saturday a group of students, from Visitation Academy in DC, lead by service director, Hadley Walsh, arrived for their day and a half of Camden service.   They packed a lot into the time here, painting over graffiti, painting two fence panels, celebrating our Confirmation Mass, and bonding with kids from the neighborhood who joined in with the projects.



3. Upcoming Events

Thursday to Saturday a student group from Ireton will be here for service and reflection.


We are interviewing by phone all who applied for the two Summer Internship programs.   All applicants will hear back this week about acceptance into the popular program.



4. Links

Check the DeSales Service Works website and to read essays on a range of topics from the old  Peace & Justice Blog archive.    Also see other resources: Facebook page-    Mike Morgan’s blog-


Have a great week,  Mike McCue, OSFS

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