Service Matters – Last Week in Ordinary Time

26 November 2012

Last Week in 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
  •  Links


1. Service Word    Revelation 1:5-8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,

“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

to testify to the truth.

Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”


Catholicism, or most any religion, serves some useful purposes: encouraging and enabling charity, promoting orderly behavior, cooperation, and good citizenship.   Faith helps many handle the difficult times that come as life proceeds.   There are studies that suggest that faith is smart thing for parents to hand on to their kids; good for their coping and advancement.


However, there is more to this religion than its utility.   First of all it reflects truth.  (Dominican priest Timothy Radcliffe writes about this with particular insight.)   Christian faith is also about faithful relationship with the personal God made accessible in Jesus.   The God of past, present, and future will not let injustice and disorder reign.   He is King.   His kingdom is far from arrived and finished presently, but we are part of its continuing to take flesh in the world today.


The mystic St. John of the Cross wrote, “In the end we will be judged by love.”   His insight captures the message of the end of the Church year and the beginning of Advent.   Judgement by our God is not to be feared, but to be taken seriously.   Our end is all about love and is administered by the God who, not only has love, but is Love.   Isn’t that what Camden needs?   Isn’t that what every community needs?


What shapes your vision of the “end times” and “final judgement”?

-How has your religion been useful to you?

-What does the image of Christ as “Alpha and Omega” mean in your approach to life? 



2. Last Week in Camden

Each Thanksgiving and Christmas food (and gifts) come to us from every direction to channel to people in need.    A TV news reporter from Philadelphia visited last Wednesday to document these efforts.  Cathedral Parish Outreach Coordinator Susan Mackey stars in the segment.   It is amazing how twenty minute interviews get condensed into a couple half-sentence sound bites and folded into the reporter’s narrative.  They got it basically on target, but there is so much more to say about this service.

Last week in this newsletter I asked what helps you personally “keep the peace.”  —What do you do to deal with anger in you life?  The reflection tried to look at the connection between personal acts and violence at the extreem end of the scale.   We are trying to distill five practices drawn from experience that can help people to turn from any level of violence.   Thank you for ideas shared!   It is not too late for other ideas:



3. Upcoming Events

Two Sallies homerooms will ber here to serve this week, Wednesday and Friday.   The year- long volunteers and our two-month volunteers, CJ Colton and Raphaël Garagnon, will take time for retreat this weekend.



4. Links

December 2, Joseph’s House of Camden homeless overnight cafe will open for our third season.  Anyone interested in volunteering there on a regular basis can contact Mary Beth Kohler, 856-964-9777 x603.   Donations are also, naturally, very welcome.   (We have been offered two matching grants that activate when we raise $15,000.00.)


Comic Stephen Colbert is a public figure who seems comfortable with his Catholic identity.   I just pass on this link of an interview.


Read other reflections at the archives of Service Matters  and on DSW’s Facebook page.


Thank you,

 Mike McCue, OSFS

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