Service Matters – Fourth Week of Easter

22 April 2013

Fourth Week of Easter


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, 

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   Revelation 21:1-5A

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.

He will dwell with them and they will be his people

and God himself will always be with them as their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes,

and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,

for the old order has passed away.”


The One who sat on the throne said,

“Behold, I make all things new.”


Sunday’s New York Times has an article by Stamford University anthropologist, T.M. Luhrmann entitled, “The Benefits of Church.”   Studying human behavior, he notes that regularly going to church appears to be “good for you”— “boosts the immune system, decreases blood pressure … may add two or three years to life.”  He notes the value of having a social network (non-virtual) for support and connection and the encouragement of healthy behaviors.   And very importantly, faith asks believers to look beyond what is simply “material and observable.”

God dwells with his people with the values and aspirations of Christianity to inspire us and to challenge the old order.


In Camden it can be tempting to think we can fix this or that problem, assist this or that person—and be over and done with it.    Perhaps the most important action for this neighborhood—and likely for any arena of Christian living—is just being there, faithful, persistant, day after day; like God dwelling among his people.    Groups who come here might clean an alley, paint positive messages, give quality attention to grade school kids or teens, feed the hungry, give hope to addicts.  But then there is the next day—with its own challenges and graces.


Here, with DSW’s constant flow of groups and individuals doing good, faithfulness has a clearly communal character.   We have begun really stressing with each group that they are a part of a common effort, part of a “relay” where we do our part and then hand off the task to the next group.    In that way we give evidence of God dwelling here and cooperate with the Lord making all things new.

-What benefits do you experience from Church participation?

Are there ways you have a sense of being part of a group project, bringing God’s peace and justice to this world?

-How do you respond to terror and violence in our time?



2. Last Week in Camden

Young members of St. Patrick’s Parish near Cape Cod in Massachusetts were here for a mission trip from Sunday to early Saturday morning.   The news from their home area made being here particularly challenging, but they brought good work and generosity to our neighbors.   Sallies was here Wednesday.   Sunday Ethan lead a group of students from Rutgers who served here working in Northgate Park.



3. Upcoming Events

The 27th Salesianum homeroom came to Camden last week, and it turns out there will be one last trip this week.    Father Judge students will be here Saturday from 8:00 to 5:00 for a great service day.   New Vision’s director and Joseph’s House board member, Kevin Moran, will host a group staying at DSW this weekend from Morrisville State College in central New York.



4. Links

DeSales Service Works Summer Internship

Live and work for three weeks serving in community and with our neighbors.   Summer interns focus on one main project of their own and also work together on various projects to get a broad sense of life in this city.   “Main projects” include a summer camp in the park, home visits, community gardening, and tutoring.  Check out blog entries from last year Summer Internship Program.

This year’s dates are: Session I May 26-June 16  Session II July 7-28.    

For more information contact program director, Mike Morgan, at or call Fr. Mike McCue at 215-582-1666


Terror in Boston, gun violence in the US, war in so many places in our world are examples of the “old order.” as the Book of Revelation phrases it.    The late photojournalist Timothy Hetherington has some images from the war in Afghanistan that I would like to share for reflection.     His “Sleeping Soldier” video is very powerful.



Peace, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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