3 March 2014
8th Week in Ordinary Time
A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales,
DeSales 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 Matthew 4:1-11
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
Jesus is God become flesh, human. So he has experiences of being hungry and incomplete—part of every human life. Tempted, the Lord could have stepped away from that human experience and made bread from stones. Instead he acted, faithful to Divine will, faithful to his oneness with us.
Our lives are crowded with activity, responsibilities, entertainment, noise, temptation, and distractions. The desert represents opportunities we take to put clutter on hold in order to see what is really important, in order to commit ourselves to that with renewed awareness and energy.
Lent is one season dedicated to that goal. We are invited to go into the desert with Jesus and to leave behind any illusion or pretense. We can join Pope Francis confessing: “I am a sinner.” His statement is truly Catholic, and from God, if it is rooted in faith in God who is faithful to us, who does not reject the sinner, but comes to show us life and fullness. Negativity, false-humility, rejection have no place in Lent or in any other season that can call itself Christian.
Service retreats offer that same sort of opportunity. Time after time volunteers report time here gives a new sense of gratitude and appreciation for what they have. They also report connecting with people very different from them—realizing that there are ways to connect. Differences are real, but they do not need to keep people apart.
2. Last Week in Camden
Six students from Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD, spent their spring break serving in Camden.
Monday and Friday Salesianum homerooms came to Camden for service.
Starting Thursday afternoon and ending after the Spanish Mass Sunday, 15 students from Bishop Eustace High School in near-by Pennsauken, NJ, were here. They worked with the grade school kids and at Joseph’s House. 7:00AM Saturday they rode a school bus to serve a breakfast they had prepared to residents of the Last Stop in Philadelphia. Saturday night St. Joseph’s Prep junior, Colin Burns headed a group of four making a crisp romaine lettuce salad to offer guests at Joseph’s House. They also brought chess and checkers boards that guests and students got to enjoy.
DSW Operations Director, Mike Morgan, joined the Oblate staff meeting in Wilmington, DE, to present our plan for expanding into Wilmington, and extending the impact of the good work on participants in DSW. The staff members were very interested and encouraging.
3. Upcoming Week
A group from Highpoint University in NC is here to brave the snow during their spring break in Camden. Oblate Vince Smith, pastor of nearby Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, leads campus ministry there.
A group from Walsingham Academy arrives Thursday ready for action.
Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, beginning of the Lent and Easter cycle. Let me recommend a solid online resource Sacred Space that helps many people carve a bit of time out of the work day to increase their conscious connection to God.
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS