Service Matters – Sixth Week of Easter

6 May 2013

Sixth Week of Easter


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, 

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   Luke 24:46

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,

raised his hands, and blessed them.

As he blessed them he parted from them

and was taken up to heaven.

They did him homage

and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

and they were continually in the temple praising God.


Donny is a guy you may have met if you have been to Camden in the last two years, and I have written about him a bit—(using different names).   He has cerebral palsy, has distorted speech, is very deaf, has seizures, has no family (except an uncle in Florida, and his mother here who has nothing to do with him), recently lost his girl friend of 12 years, suffers from depression, and fights against his addictions to crack and beer.


I always say about Don, that if I had even one of his disabilities, I would not get out of bed in the morning.   Yet most of the time, when he is not actively using drugs, you could not meet a more fun, positive man.   You have to love him.   Even though he is in his early 40s, he is very much like a child—playful, funny, transparent.


Recently, after a couple weeks where the dark forces in his life shadowed the good, Donny re-emerged.    To summarize his state, he raised his hands, “I surrender!” he said, “I surrender.”


In this world we are the hands of Christ, working, reaching out to those in need, making connections, doing our part to make the world good for ourselves, family, friends, and neighbors.   To use religious language, we help build the “kingdom of God.”   But in our efforts, doesn’t there come a point were we can only to raise our hands to the Father, like Jesus, like Donny, and surrender to God’s higher power and God’s plan?


I often think of this at Mass, as the priest, my hands raised in the ancient gesture of prayer and surrender.    In the face of poverty, addiction, sin, drug dealing, unemployment, war, broken relationships—whatever challenge we encounter—we work hard to heal and change.   But in the end, “I surrender” offers an realistic, faith-filled perspective.     All is in God’s hands.

-Is “I surrender” a prayer that is helpful in your relationship with God?

-Are you conscious of the call to be, in concrete ways, the hands of Christ?

-What are some ways you participate in building the reign of God?



2. Last Week in Camden

Nine freshmen from Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School did a great job Saturday working and playing with kids in Northgate Park.

Sunday was “Immigration Sunday” in the Camden Diocese.   Homilies talked about how concern for immigrants and for justice in U.S. policy connects very naturally with Catholic faith.



3. Upcoming Events

This year’s summer internship program is shaping up under Mike Morgan’s leadership.    See “Links” below for details.

Today HopeWorks of Camden hosts a meeting of 150 community members to deal with violence in this community, Camden Trauma Summit.    I will report on it in next week’s Service Matters.


Another Cristo Rey group will join us Saturday for service.    A group from Villanova University will make sandwiches for the hungry and homeless.


4. Links

If you or someone you know is 18 to 23 DeSales Service Works Summer Internship is something to consider: Live and work for three weeks serving in community with our neighbors. Participants each focus on one main project and also work together sampling other good works to get a broad sense of life in this city.   Service opportunities include a summer camp in the park, home visits, community gardening, and tutoring.  Check out blog entries from last year’s Summer Internship Program.


Session I May 26-June 16              Session II July 7-28.    


For more information contact program director, Mike Morgan, at or call Fr. Mike McCue at 215-582-1666



Peace, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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