Service Matters – Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

3 January 2011

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Christmas Season



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
  • Salesian Peace and Justice Blog

1. Service Word  Matthew 2:1-12

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.   They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.   They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.


In the entire Christmas story Herod stands out as one person who does not allow himself to be awed and moved by the coming of Christ.  He sees no stars or angels and hears no hymns praising God and God’s peace.  The Magi’s quest provokes his fear, jealousy, and grasping for control.  He gets furious instead of curious.  There are real negative forces that I imagine we all have to contend within ourselves, depending on our make up.  Herod never looks up from these things, lets them define his horizon, and he missed the visitation of God.


In contrast, the Magi look up and allow the star—curiosity, promise, possibility, imagination—to inspire and guide their journey.  God, who is behind all good, offers direction for their lives; they go boldly in that direction.   Sr. Claire Sullivan says, “In Camden we don’t look down, we look up.”  No matter where we live or work, that is good advice.


-Does anything darken or limit your horizon?

-What serves as a star drawing your attention to your goals, values, aspirations, and best self?

-Do you have any resolutions for this new year?


2. Last Week in Camden

For 36 hours leading up to Mass on New Year’s Eve, Guadalupe Family Services focused our attention to the victims of murder in our city last year.  Director, Sr. Helen Cole, and the staff, including DSW volunteer Tim Gallagher, led those gathered in remembrance and prayer.  It was terrible to consider the number lost in one year and to consider the lives of each individual and those impacted by their loss.  The vigil was also an act of faith, like the star lifting our gaze to God, to people’s goodness, to aspirations for other ways of dealing with anger and conflict—to peace.    (GFS is an agency housed across the street from DSW that reaches out to families of murder victims in an on-going way and does anger management and conflict resolution training.)


Kenny and Barbie did not move to a new apartment as they intended when I wrote last week.  Again I had to witness and they had to feel the frustration of working with an over-extended system.   Barbie’s case manager would not approve of the move—even thought the new place is cheaper and in a better location—and despite the work Barbie put into finding a place.


3. Upcoming Events

The men’s basketball team from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia was not able to be here last week because to the snow, but they will still serve before the end of Christmas break.   In addition, two college students will spend part of their break here this week doing service.


Friday, Oblate vocation director, Fr. Don Heet, will lead a retreat for Oblate Associates, young men discerning the possibility that God might be calling them to service and life as an Oblate brother or priest. Associate Program


This Saturday the Oblates are sponsoring a concert for Haiti at Salesianum School in Wilmington, DE, Hope for Haiti.  Everyone is more than welcome.  I am proud of how much the Oblates and our friends have contributed to aiding the people of that battered half-island.


4. Peace and Justice Blog    Check out the Oblate Justice and Peace Blog.   Look for a new posting late this week.



Happy New Year! Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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