Service Matters – Last Week of Ordinary Time

21 November 2011

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Last Week of Ordinary Time


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ,

De Sales 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   Matthew 25:31-46

Lord when did we see you… ?   …Whatever you did for these least sisters and brothers of mine, you did for me.


What kind of God do we have who so closely identifies himself with the needy and lowly that he can speak these words to us?

One of the central goals of DSW is offering volunteers an opportunity to see as God does.   So often the  experience of our neighborhood leads to a new gratitude for what we can count on—foundations that so many people here cannot be sure of: family, security, options, education, heat, food, bathroom, home.   This is a place where we meet people who lack what many Americans can take as granted.

In his presentations Ken often asks students what they would do if they found themselves homeless, on the street.   He makes the point that the poor and homeless are not a separate race of humans.   You or I could be homeless or hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill, addicted, or imprisoned.   We may be secure and have options because of family, education, early choices, and experience—-but what if?


-Who are the least sisters and brothers you encounter on a regular basis?

-How are you a part of efforts to assist brothers and sisters in situations of extreme need?

-Pay attention to your feelings and insights looking at this scene of God’s judgement.


2. Last Week in Camden 

Sister Karen Mohan from the Visitation Monastery in North Minneapolis stayed with the Oblate community in Camden while attending the Catholic Volunteer Network conference in nearby Philadelphia.   In a neighborhood much like North Camden, the sisters live a full monastic life with its chanting of psalms and meditation.  One notable aspect of their life is that they bring “faith-sharing” to the formal liturgies of their day—reflecting together on the experiences of each day in the light of insight from psalms and readings.   Karen brought that practice to our Morning Prayer Friday, sharing about St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French nun with Salesian connections who had a great commitment to prayer that led her to service among the Indians and new Americans in the Midwest.


Sallies sophomores were here Tuesday for reflection and service, lead by Oblate transitional deacon Mike Vogt.   Mike will be ordained to the priesthood in January at Salesianum School.


Students from Stockton College in NJ arrived Friday evening in time to join our grade school kids at the after school program in a game that involved racing the clock to stack plastic cups.   That got them off to a good start for their 23 hours in Camden.   Saturday morning high school students in the Holy Name Scholars program joined them delivering flyers to neighbors and making Salesian peace flags to communicate positive messages to people in the alley.


3. Upcoming Events 

Salesianum sophomores will retreat here Monday and Judge freshmen Tuesday.   They will get to participate in various projects leading up to Thanksgiving.


Let me take this opportunity to thank each of you for the support you have given DeSales Service Works.   Your interest, service, gifts, friendship, and support make this program possible.   Thanks for reading the newsletter!


4. Links

Check out the DSW website  and the Peace & Justice Blog.    Also see other resources: Facebook page by Rachel Allen- and Mike Morgan’s blog-



  Have a great Thanksgiving! Mike McCue, OSFS

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