6 June 2011
7th Week of Easter
St. Marcellin Champagnat
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
1. Service Word Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek:
to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks;
you my glance seeks.
I believe I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
What would you do if you were in your early 30s, married with two sons, aged one and three, working with a landscaper for $7.00 per hour, from 7:00AM to 5:00 or 6:00 or 7:00PM, on days it doesn’t rain? What if you lived in two rooms, sharing a bathroom with the other family on your floor, the rent of $125.00 due the beginning of each week? Your family is in South Asia, your spouse’s family has no confidence in your ability to be a provider; you are working as many hours as you can; you have no time to look for anther job because of your present job. All you can see for your life is being one paycheck away from eviction. Your spouse works as a hotel maid, when needed. The insecurity of the situation stresses your marriage to its limits.
What would you or I do?
I talked to Kareem Sunday night. We had met twice in our alley earlier in the weekend, and he said he wanted to talk. We set a time, and I never expected he would actually come, but he did. He described the situation I summarize above, and he was very honest that he comes to Camden to get high when the pressure gets overwhelming for him.
Listening to him, I kept asking what I would do—what would people I know have done without family support to get started or to support through crisis times. Most basically, we talked about how at least going home and facing his wife’s hurt, anger, and disappointment, would be one step away from the wrong, worse directions—the only things available on the streets in Camden: more drugs, wasting money, the Ben Franklin Bridge, avoiding the realities of life.
He went home; we are both going to talk to Catholic Charities this week; he is going to talk to his wife about joining a church—some steps away from the edge.
-Give thanks for the people who support or supported your beginnings and your difficult periods.
-How does faith and Church involvement offer support and guidance—light and salvation—for you.
-Whom do you support in their starting up and at crisis points?
2. Last Week in Camden
Students from Georgetown Visitation come to Camden this Saturday. They arrived in Camden to grid-locked traffic of cars—and pick-ups—headed to a day of country music at Camden’s waterfront concert venue. Once they got here, the girls brought Salesian generosity to their service. They worked in the garden and the park joined by Maria, 6, and her cousin Jaylee, 9—very sweet girls.
Knights of Columbus from Holy Family Parish in Newark, DE, lead by 1980 Sallies grad Fr. Joe Wisniewski, arrived here for 9:00 Mass. They got to work at the community garden removing deeply-rooted weeds and spreading wood chips on the garden paths. Domino’s delivered lunch, and then they moved on to work Northgate Park. There they promoted the advantages of power tools for yard—park—work. neighborhood kids came out on cue to play on the newly cleared jungle gym area. As usual a neighbor volunteered to use the lawn mower.
Sunday evening students from Our Lady of Victory Parish in DC arrived ready for two full days of service and reflection.
3. Upcoming Events
The year long volunteers have their third retreat next weekend.
Read past essays from the Peace & Justice Blog.
Peace, Mike McCue, OSFS