Service Matters – 5th Week of Easter

7 May 2012

Monday of the 5th 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 Matters 


Remain in me, as I remain in you.

Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own

unless it remains on the vine,

so neither can you unless you remain in me.


Over the decades so much has left Camden: one industry after another with their dependable, blue collar jobs.   Big plans and promises have come and gone.   Government has often promised more than delivered.   Several mayors went from city hall to prison.   The State of New Jersey even took a turn running local government.   It would not be fair to suggest that all these efforts and institutions acted with incompetence or were completely guided by self-interest. However, they have left or have not been dependable.


Cooper Hospital and Rutgers University’s Camden campus, two very well funded public institutions, faithfully remain.   Funded in a very different way, churches also remain in this community.  The Diocese of Camden has its offices in the middle of downtown near the Cathedral.   The bishop has committed to Camden, first, by keeping the Cathedral church in the heart this troubled city, and second, by taking good care of the ancient (1859) building.   Also, in the neighborhoods, churches abide as signs of God’s presence and as channels of Christ’s peace and charity.


When service retreat groups come to DeSales Service Works, we make the point that North Camden is not a “safe place,” but we are not in danger because of the strong regard residents have for service and Church.   This true for congregations non-Catholic and Catholic, but we can talk about the parish in North Camden in particular, because people constantly share about Sister Linda, or Fr. Mark, or Sister Helen, or Sr. Claire—the various leaders in the church over the generations who bore fruit here in this place.


The parish delivers social services: food, clothing, education, counsel, but it also acts as sacrament of Christ.   It offers connection with the Lord, who teaches by word and deed that there is more to life than self-interest or pleasure, more to be concerned with than simple survival and getting through the day.


-Do you have habits, practices, or objects that remind you of God’s presence and connection?

-How does your faith and religion bear fruit?

-Are there people who connect you with the Lord?



2. Last Week in Camden

Freshmen from Father Judge High School were here Tuesday for a day of retreat and service.   They come one or two homerooms at a time.  As always they did a good job, sharing humor and respect at Sandwich Ministry and at New Visions Day Shelter.



3. Upcoming Events

There is little on the schedule for this week—just a meeting about Joseph’s House homeless project and meetings getting things ready for the first of our internship weeks that begins May 20th.



4. Links

The editors of Commonweal  magazine offer an insightful reflection on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s initiative toward American sisters and nuns.    The British journal The Tablet offers another thoughtful reflection. 


Father James Martin, SJ, offers several positive you tube reflections.   Here is a link to one about U.S. sisters and nuns.


Stephen Colbert hosted another Jesuit, Tom Reese, talking about Catholic Social Teaching and Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed government budget.



Easter Peace,  Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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