Service Matters – Monday of Holy Week

2 April 2012

Monday of Holy Week


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  The Passion Account in the Gospel of Mark

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.   And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


Many volunteers who got the chance to visit Joseph’s House during their stay in Camden rated the experience one of their best with DSW.    Over the four months since the first of November, a community developed there characterized by caring, humor and a good measure of just putting up with one another.   Most nights 45 people stayed in one big room —“big,” but not that large with so many individuals camped out for the night.


A sense of community makes the conditions bearable, but anyone there, from the most positive and promising to the most depressed, could make the gospel prayer of Jesus their own.   My God, why have you forsaken me?   This honest prayer expresses distance from God the Father and near despair, yet it does address God.   It prays out of a faith that persists whatever the emotions, despite dark, empty feelings.


The verse expresses how the Lord feels on the cross, alone and forsaken, failed.   But he shows us to keep faith no matter what.   You see this so often in some people here, who have nothing, and seem to have few prospects for success—yet they have faith, and share whatever they have. Time after time student visiting here get to experience that generous spirit.


-How do you handle “God forsaken” situations or people who seem beyond hope?

-Does the image of Jesus on the cross enable you to connect with God.

-What does the fact that the Church has remembered this “scandalous” prayer of the Lord say about our understanding of Jesus?


2. Last Week in Camden

Father Judge freshmen retreated here Tuesday.

Students from Bishop Ireton High School arrived here Thursday and worked at great projects with fun and generosity until they departed on Saturday.


Later that day nine members of University of Wisconsin campus ministry, “Badger Catholics,” arrived ready to nap; they had driven overnight from Madison in two compact cars.    Though sleep deprived, they quickly got to work grocery shopping and then grilling classic Midwest “brats.”


That evening they got to serve at Joseph’s House for the last night of the season.   There were fewer guests than usual there because a good number live it up a bit by staying in a motel room or bar when their aid checks arrive at the beginning of each month.   And all evening it felt weird that the sanctuary Joseph’s House provided since All Saints Day would simply not be there the next night.    For some the deadline of the closure for this season spurred them to action—one guy moving to Florida, several talking about trying to stay with relatives, several with jobs or new situations.   But it seems that most were without real alternatives.   It was a melancholy night, with some hope and some denial in the air.



3. Upcoming Events

Sunday the parish started Holy Week with very moving Palm Sunday Masses.   My favorite part was how everyone raised their palm branches high and waved them with no self-consciousness while singing strong Palm Sunday songs.     All the Triduum liturgies will be uplifting.   And Friday afternoon we will have a Stations of the Cross procession through North Camden to reflect on the Lord’s suffering and death in places where passion and death—and resurrection—occur in our time in very dramatic American inner city ways.


Our Wisconsin voulunteers will continue ot be here until they drive back on Good Friday.   That day members of a youth group from St. John Chrysostom in Wallingford, PA for service and Via Crucis.



4. Links

DSW is sponsoring internship programs.   See the flyer below for more information about this program designed to give the opportunity to work in the community this summer.


Check the DeSales Service Works website and to read essays on a range of topics from the Peace & Justice Blog.    Also see other resources: Facebook page-    Mike Morgan’s blog-


God bless you, Father Mike McCue, OSFS


DeSales Service Works

2012 Summer Interns program

“Nothing Is small in the service of GOD!” st. Francis De Sales

Other Benefits

We work together for a better Camden and the city works on

us to help see  beyond differences and dangers.

Eye opening and rewarding life experiences:

  • Sandwich ministry for the hungry
  • Holy Name School
  • Plan and run events in Northgate Park and

Esperanza community garden

  • Home blessings with Sister Claire …and many more!

* Live in a community of

service and social justice

minded young people


* Experience a vibrant culture

and community in the people

of  N. Camden


* Community Service credits

towards your school


* Life changing experiences!!!

For an Application or more

information  contact us at:


Must be 18 or older

Dates Available:


Session 1: May 20-June 10 


Session 2: July 2-July 22 

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