Service Matters – Second Week of Advent

9 December 2013

Second Week of Advent

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of God


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
  •  Links

1.  Service Word      Matthew 11:2-11

“Are you the one who is to come,

or should we look for another?”

Jesus said to them in reply, 

“Go and tell John what you hear and see: 

the blind regain their sight, 

the lame walk,

lepers are cleansed, 

the deaf hear,

the dead are raised,

and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.


Maybe you will agree that Pope Francis has been communicating the Christian imperative to care for those in need with particular effectiveness.   This focus clearly comes from the Lord himself.   We can observe in the gospel that Jesus answers John the Baptist by directing him to look at acts of charity and justice as evidence of the real presence of God.


That was true in the time of Christ and is true today; there is no more convincing sign of God’s presence than believers’ faith in action.   It has particular power when offered to those who have no means to return the favor—the poor.   But whatever the setting, our justice and loving service lines us up with God’s will—and in reality, comes from the promptings of the Holy Spirit in us.


The Pope is asking Catholics (and everyone else interested) to pray together on December 10th, this Tuesday, for an end to hunger in our world.   The 24 hours of prayer is structured so that it will start in Samoa and go from east to west around the globe at noon in each place.   I love the boldness of the goal—ending hunger—and the boldness of turning to prayer, trusting God, to forward this aim.


-How do you contribute to ending hunger?

-Can you pray Tuesday at noon for this common goal?

-What is your experience of hunger in our world?



2. Last Week in Camden

Sunday to Wednesday I had a retreat getaway in Washington and staying with the community in the new Oblate seminary.   Several blocks from our old residence, also in the Brookland section of DC, Brisson Hall is a nice sized house, and the brothers make it warm and welcoming.

One evening my Mom, who lives in nearby Northern Virginia, and I attended a forum at Georgetown University’s.   Sponsored by their Religion, Peace and World Affairs department’s Catholic Social Thought and the Public Life project.   It is entitled The Pope and the Poor.    Among the presenters were E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson.   Dionne, a self-described “liberal” and Catholic and Gerson, a “compassionate conservative” and an Evangelical Protestant.   Both were so smart and insightful about Pope Francis, American poverty, and Catholic social teaching.    Check it out for yourself.


Thursday a group from Holy Infant Parish in Durham, NC, arrived for community and service.   They got more of an northern experience than most groups because of our unexpected December snow.    They got to work on Joseph’s House grounds, at a CCD Advent party, and creating delicious chicken soup for Sandwich Ministry.



3. Upcoming Week

The Holy Infant group works here until Tuesday.   Fr. Judge is here Thursday; Cristo Rey comes Saturday.



4. Links

Pope Francis’ letter to the whole Church has gained wide notice because of its practical and positive tone and focus.   Read Evangelii gaudium—The Joy of the Gospel.    America magazine’s Jim Martin, SJ, and Scott Simon from NPR’s Weekend Edition, Saturday, discuss Pope Francis’ letter and offer a summary.



Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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