Service Matters – 6th Week of Easter

29 May 2011

Memorial Day

6th 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  John 14:15-21

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.   In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.   On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.   Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”


Thursday evening I was home alone upstairs at the Cathedral.   As it was getting dark, someone rang the doorbell, no exaggeration, 25 times.   That is just not necessary.   And as soon as I opened the door, I interrupted the woman standing there asking for $3.20 for MacDonald’s to tell her that.   I was pretty calm, but I said “You can’t ring the doorbell like that.  It is not right.  I wouldn’t come to your house and do that to you.” I realized my mistake and attempted a correction: “—if you had one.”   I’m not sure she heard that, but she started crying.  I told her we do not give money, but I could get her a pepsi.


As we continue through the Easter Season, the readings again remind us that love is at the heart of the resurrection of the Lord.   As the above gospel segment puts it, we have the commandment and need to observe it to make it real as a sign of the power and presence of the Lord.


Replaying in my mind Thursday’s flawed encounter with this woman, I was very aware that we have the command.   One of the very healthy things about Church is that it can’t stop putting the Lord’s words in front of us to inspire, challenge, and unsettle.


-How do you feel hearing about love so often in Church?

-People often joke about (or deride)“Catholic guilt.”   How does guilt differ from responsibility, compassion, or feeling unsettled by the injustice and need we encounter?

-Do you have these?


2.  Last Week in Camden

Seniors, ready for graduation from  K-12 charter school,  Renaissance Academy, stayed with us Monday and Tuesday.   They served at projects in Camden and downtown Philadelphia.  Parishioners Victor and Wanda Roman cooked a great Puerto Rican dinner for them.


DeSales Service Works began in 2001 in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.  One of the volunteers from that first year, Rita Longan-Litske, died last week at the age of 31 after a battle with cancer.   Oblate Bob Bazzoli preached at the funeral sharing about how the DSW year of service impacted her life.   She met her husband of five years, John Litske, during that year and ended up staying in Philadelphia (she was from Ohio), and continuing to serve the poor and those in need of healing.   The others from that year were here to offer their respects and support for Rita’s family.   One of the volunteers, Paul Martorell, stayed with this year’s volunteers for several days, doing service in Rita’s memory.   Please remember Rita, John, and her parents in your prayers.


Joseph’s House planning board continues to meet deciding next steps in maintaining and expanding our program to help homeless people in Camden.


3. Upcoming Events

Students from Georgetown Visitation come to Camden this Saturday.  They will get to be here in time for a community clean-up in Northgate Park, our rehabbed, neighborhood park.


4. Links

Read past essays from the Peace & Justice Blog.



Mike McCue, OSFS

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