Service Matters – Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2012

St. Paul Miki & Companions

Fifth Week in Ordinary Time


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  Mark 1:29-39

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door.   He cured many who were sick with various 

diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.   Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”


Ed is a guy about my age who we first met because he was homeless, living near the Cathedral. At that time he worked as a day laborer gutting the the insides of the high rise Wilson Building in downtown.  When that job ended, I used to see him all the time walking—coming or going from North Camden to the bus headed to a job outside the city.   He worked various shifts, he explained, walking swiftly to the transportation center.   I have no idea what circumstances led him to have such lack of security at middle age, but I was impressed by his work ethic.


The last few months I’ve started seeing him again, looking really good, with nice clothes, a sharp haircut, in no rush.   It quickly dawned on me that he is selling drugs, part of a team on a corner in North Camden.


Did his job end?  Did all the hours of commuting and making multiple connections wear him down?  Was the promise of quick money—hundreds of dollars a day—too good to pass up?


People came to Jesus from every direction with their needs.   What could be more natural, since they knew his goodness and power.   They pursued him, bringing the very real suffering and need that all humans experience as we travel through life.   However, Jesus had, and has, much more to offer than a quick fix to whatever ails us.  The Lord offers a whole way of looking at life that is rooted firmly in  relationship with him.


-Do any short cuts or quick fixes tempt you?

-What does it mean to bring the experience of illnesses, trials, and failure to the Lord?

-Have you had the experience of patience, perseverance, and hard work paying off? 



2. Last Week in Camden

Thursday students from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA, arrived in Camden.    They went immediately to work helping in the parish grade school after-school program.   The children respond very well to high school or college students there to play with and give them lots of attention.    BI Students jumped into all the activities of their three days with DSW.



3. Upcoming Events

Freshmen from Father Judge will be here Tuesday for a service retreat.   Saturday is the Oblates’ annual fund/fun/friend raiser, Winter Carnival at Knowleton Mansion.


4. Links


DeSales Service Works website


 God bless you, Fr. Mike McCue

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