4 February 2013
Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
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
1. Service Word Luke 5:1-11
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
I’ve written about Juan Santiago before; we met him last spring when he and his wife/girlfriend Dorothy were homeless, living in a hotel each month as long as their benefits lasted and then camping out in the doorway of old Bell Telephone building near us on a busy Camden street. He has cerebral palsy, very significant deafness—with an undependable hearing aid—diabetes, seizures, and addiction. Any one of those conditions would be enough to defeat me, but Juan also has an amazing, childlike, positive attitude.
Dorothy died recently, and Juan is doing OK mourning her loss. It is hard, but he is doing smart things to deal with his sadness: talking, keeping connected people, and staying active, working. He also has a vivid sense that Dorothy is in heaven and talks to her and to the Lord.
Sunday he went grocery shopping with his food stamps for the month, but also came back with a load of bottled water to give to Sandwich Ministry, “for homeless people” he said.
His simple generosity amazes me. It reminds me that it is important not to think any label or condition can define a total person. Juan clearly does not define himself as “a homeless guy.” He was homeless, and now he is in a position to offer some help to people who are presently homeless. He is not resting in the shallow waters of excessive self-focus, but responds to the call to go deeper to thoughtfulness and generosity.
–What are deep and shallow waters in your life presently?
-Is there any area of your life where you have given up trying?
-Are there any lables that limit you?
2. Last Week in Camden
Students from Cristo Rey High School Philadelphia, along with school president John McConnell and religion teacher Sean Murray. We made sandwiches and snacks for Sandwich Ministry and hung stations of the cross in the neighborhood. A Salesianum homeroom was here Wednesday.
3. Upcoming Events
Another Cristo Rey group will be here on Saturday and will get to work with the Cathedral Parish confirmation class—also here for service.
Read past reflections at the archives of Service Matters.
Have a good week,
Mike McCue, OSFS firstname.lastname@example.org