Service Matters – Fourth Week of Lent

1 April 2014

Fourth Week of Lent

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


Service Word  John 11:1-45

Martha said to Jesus, 

“Lord, if you had been here,

my brother would not have died.

But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,

God will give you.”

Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”

Martha said to him,

“I know he will rise,

in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told her,

“I am the resurrection and the life; 


Friday was the funeral for Steven Phillip, 33 years old.    He did a lot of work for DSW, and I got to know him well.   In the volunteer house on State Street, everywhere you look is his handwork: refinished wooden floors, carpet, frosted bathroom window, door lock.   I helped his girlfriend and him move.   I drove him to the Salvation Army in Trenton to what ended up being his last rehab program.   “Last,” unless you count two months in Baltimore County jail.    He was an addict—-crack mostly, but he got hooked on heroin that dealers offered with the intention of generating consumers.


In addition to all work on the DSW house, Steve spoke to several student groups, sharing wisdom gained from the 12 Steps’ ability to unmask addiction and twisted priorities.   He was a gifted presenter and used imagery at the heart of the Christian message—-deaths and resurrections—-to describe the selfishness and deception of his drug use vs. the new life of sobriety.     He claimed not to be Christian or Catholic—-his experience of narrow fundamentalism, and perhaps a need to be “unique,” made him back away from that identification.   But he shared faith in the Higher Power and continued to talk about the cross and about unity in the one Body of Christ.


About a year and a half ago, to mark more than a year of sober living, he got a tattoo on his back: “RESURECTION.”     Who gets a misspelled tattoo?   It almost seemed fitting for him to have a concept that meant enough to engrave on his body to be a bit off.   Steve was a fun, fast paced, and frenetic guy, well intended, but taken off course over and over by this disease.


Life is all about deaths and resurrections—-but in this world all rebirths are partial; we are incomplete here.    Jesus who is resurrection, who is life, invites us to trust his word that there will be new life where all struggles, addictions, sin, and illness will be healed and at peace.


What deaths and resurrections do you experience?

-If you tattooed somethin on your back, what would it be?

-Can you feel trust in the words and promise of the Lord?


Last Week in Camden

Sallies homerooms were here on Monday and Thursday.    Students from South Jersey’s Stockton University served here Tuesday.

Former Jesuit Volunteer Stephanie Krivus was here with a classmate from her graduate program at University of Illinois, Chicago.



This Week

Salesianum was here Monday and got a tour of Joseph’s House and got to plant pansies and do a quick clean up of the grounds.   This was great help because Tuesday is the shelter’s official ribbon cutting.

A group of Fr. Judge freshmen come Thursday for the morning.   Thursday a Bishop Ireton service group arrives for a three day stay.    Sunday a group from St. Joseph’s University will join us.



If you haven’t seen the recent videos check them out: one from Walsingham Academy, in Williamsburg, VA, and one from University of Wisconsin’s Badger Catholic.




Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS


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