Service Matters – Holy Week

14 April 2014

Holy Week

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


1. Service Word     Gospel of John 18:1-19:42


Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother

and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,

and Mary of Magdala.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved

he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple,

“Behold, your mother.”


For the last couple months Phil has been restoring a concrete statue of the Blessed Mother.   Originally we planned simply to paint over the faded and peeling colors.   But he kept at it and discovered layers and layers of paint, and began to strip them off, revealing fine details.


Phil has nearly two years clean, and he is deeply committed to his recovery.   His Catholic faith and devotion to the Mother of God provide a foundation for his new way of life.   He spent too many of his 35 years “running the streets” of North Camden—-getting high, lost in addiction, shooting up at the dumpster behind our school or in filthy “bandos,” to the point where death seemed the inevitable way ahead.


Behold your Mother.

On the cross Jesus sees his mother.   She must have given him comfort, some light hanging there defeated, naked, abandoned.   Likewise, through all his drug use, Phil would still bless himself or even say a prayer when he passed Mary stationed in front of the school on 5th and Vine.   The faithful woman shined God’s light into the darkness.


Devotion to the Blessed Mother is strong here and is only natural for those who believe God really became human in Jesus.   How can you be human without a family?  And naturally a mother has an important role in a family.   `


Behold your son. 

The statue will be back in place on Vine Street by Easter, freshly painted doing God’s work reaching all God’s daughters and sons whom he loves.   Phil now lives as the son he was in God’s eyes even during the darkest times of his addiction.   Thank God for the goodness, warmth, fun, and smarts that are now free for the service of the God of the living.


-What role does the Blessed Mother, Mary, play in your prayer life?

-Are there any rote religious practices that have turned out to have power and meaning?

-What or who keeps you on course during dark moments?



2. Last Week in Camden

Sallies groups were here and did great service.


3. This Week

The last two Salesianum School homerooms for the spring semester served Monday.   Under the direction of Zach Ryan, several Salesianum young men will have the first DSW service retreat in Wilmington on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.   Holy Saturday morning they will join groups in Camden for a New Jersey Tree Foundation tree planting at Joseph’s House.


4. Links

Bishop Ireton High School student collected school supplies for our parish school, Holy Name School.   They also collected linens for the volunteer house.


Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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