Service Matters – Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

4 February 2013

Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

St. Gilbert


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    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.



4. Links

Read past  reflections at the archives of Service Matters.


Have a good week,

Mike McCue, OSFS

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