Service Matters – 5th Week of Lent

26 March 2012

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

5th Week of Lent


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  John 11

I am the resurrection and the life… .   … Jesus wept.


Ever hear people make the distinction between religion and spirituality?  —“I am spiritual but not religious.”  This distinction must, first, come from deep disappointment with “organized” religion and, second, from an awareness that no one tradition has a monopoly on truth, goodness, and beauty.


There is much to disappoint us in any institution that involves humans.   But there is no escaping it; Christianity is a communal endeavor.   Therefore we can see failure and disappointment—but it is also embodied and real.  There are not a lot of ideal Christians; there are real ones.   In a similar way, I imagine most of us could assert that we love this nation and are glad to be Americans.   I also am willing to bet that most of us can also point to many, many faults of our country—people and government—presently and in our history where we have not lived up to the values articulated in our founding documents.


Secondly, we live in a time when there is a strong realization that no tradition holds a monopoly, yet believers assert that a particular human being, from a concrete time and place, with a race, gender, orientation, eye color, family, DNA, language, and friends is the almighty, infinite God’s Word become our un-mighty, finite flesh.   Some media thought it was very remarkable that Pope Benedict prayed while visiting a mosque in Turkey.   But Catholic Christianity does not propose that other religions are somehow demonic or anti-God.   As the Second Vatican Council made so clear, God uses every way possible to draw people to himself—to Truth, Beauty, and Goodness itself—to Life.


Despite deep respect for other ways, this way finds Jesus at the heart of its faith.   And this Lord is no abstraction; he is real flesh and blood.    We readily encounter him serving in Camden.   Of course the Lord points to every encounter with the least of our sisters and brothers: in the inner city, in impoverished nations overseas, in our own families and neighborhoods.   Every neighbor can reveal the face of God.

-Are devotions that bring into focus the real humanity of Christ helpful for you in picturing Jesus?   —stations of the cross, meditation on gospel scenes, lectio divina, rosary, etc.?

-How do you deal with disappointment with Church—leaders, ordinary believers, priests?

-Does any gospel image or icon help you connect to the Lord?


2. Last Week in Camden

DSW supporter, English teacher Tim Moxey organized a collection at Lower Moreland High School in PA.   The funds went to toiletry articles that students packaged to distribute to guests here for sandwiches and food bags.   We are very grateful!


Juniors and seniors from Walsingham Academy, Williamsburg, Va., spent four days experiencing life and service in the city.   They worked hard on the Cathedral’s peace garden spreading compost and at Northgate Park—clearing a large overgrown area near the entrance.   Walsingham has a strong music program; so there was a lot of harmonizing.   Three students sang a stirring setting of the Hail Mary at the Spanish language Mass Sunday.


Saturday, walking back from tent city, we stopped to pray at a shrine on the sidewalk made of candles, beer bottles, a Philly’s hat, and a sheet painted with the name and dates of a young victim of drug violence here.   A young man from the neighborhood said a prayer for peace.   The victim’s brother came over to thank us.    There is so much negative here, but kindness, good works, and prayer give hints of resurrection and life.


Fr. Joe Wisniewski, DSW supporter, spoke at Holy Family Parish in Newark, DE, about the experience of Camden.   He looked at how the new missal’s “dismissal” at Mass, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life,” charges worshipers to carry the implications of what they have just celebrated into all aspect of their lives.  Students who have been here spoke as well.   They also collected 700.00 for our work here.   Thank you!


3. Upcoming Events

Father Judge freshmen come Tuesday.   A service retreat group from Bishop Ireton High School will be here Thursday to Saturday.


4. Links

DSW is sponsoring internship programs.   See the flyer below for more information about this program designed to give the opportunity to work in the community this summer.


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


God bless you, Father Mike McCue, OSFS


DeSales Service Works

2012 Summer Interns program

“Nothing Is small in the service of GOD!” st. Francis De Sales

Other Benefits

We work together for a better Camden and the city works on

us to help see  beyond differences and dangers.

Eye opening and rewarding life experiences:

  • Sandwich ministry for the hungry
  • Holy Name School
  • Plan and run events in Northgate Park and

Esperanza community garden

  • Home blessings with Sister Claire …and many more!

* Live in a community of

service and social justice

minded young people


* Experience a vibrant culture

and community in the people

of  N. Camden


* Community Service credits

towards your school


* Life changing experiences!!!

For an Application or more

information  contact us at:


Must be 18 or older

Dates Available:


Session 1: May 20-June 10 


Session 2: July 2-July 22 

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