25 February 2014
Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
St. Ethelbert of Kent
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
1. Service Word Isaiah 49:14-15
Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
or be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
The Bible and all of Catholic Christian tradition makes use of varied images to communicate God’s nature—caring and faithful. In the quote above, the prophet talks about God as Mother. Naturally there is nothing that can make a mother forget her child. So it is with God.
There are times working here when I wonder what difference are we making? —Wonder if parish life, Salesian Spirituality, all the sandwiches, groups of positive volunteers, all the talking to addicts and homeless people makes any difference. Out of all the many problems encountered, very few seem to get solved. What does it mean to have a warm conversation with an addict or a dealer when she or he still is on the streets month after month—year after year?
Good works do contribute to the progress of many. But one way or another, our tenderness and faithfulness brings God’s light. Some of our neighbors live in tough, dark worlds where nearly everyone around them is out to get something. Some are stuck in tunnels where desperation or addiction’s selfish power eclipses any possible friendship or kindness.
So people—not out to get anything, who have chosen freely to come to this forsaken environment— can show God’s face to people who have forgotten normal human decency and God’s love. God forgets no one.
– What images from Scripture or Tradition are most helpful for your visualizing God?
– Do you encounter anyone who cannot see or feel the love of God?
– How do you bring God’s light to darkness you encounter?
2. Last Week in Camden
Last Monday the DSW team of Mike Morgan, Zach Ryan, Bernard Camancho and I met with LaVaida White and Oblate Joe Brennan at Christ Our King Parish in Wilmington. LaVaida is a long time parishioner and staff member, and Joe has been the pastor there since the Oblates began staffing the parish last spring. The meeting advanced plans for DSW in Wilmington.
Two individual volunteers were here on their own. Claire Dolson arrived last Monday for two weeks She is a graduate of Georgetown Visitation and was a DSW Summer Intern—and has served here several times with her school and with the rest of the Dolson family. The other is Casey Shannon, a Bishop Ireton grad—and presently a volunteer lacrosse coach there. He graduated high school the same year the DSW began in Camden, 2008, and former Bishop Ireton principal, Oblate Matt Hillyard is a family friend. Both Claire and Casey worked in the parish grade school and sandwich ministry. They got to work at Joseph’s House four nights in a row—helping with the meal one night, but assisting with intake interviews each evening.
Two time Summer Intern, Molly Easton, grad of Williamsburg, VA’s, Walsingham Academy came early for the open house and served as well.
Saturday DSW volunteers helped run the Cathedral Parish’s confirmation retreat with 27 parish kids, pastor Matt Hillyard and the CCD teachers.
Sunday’s open house was very fun. DSW Operations Director, Mike Morgan, organized and hosted very well. We welcomed members of the Camden service community, DSW friends and supporters. Several girls and two teachers from Padua Academy in Wilmington, DE, came to get a first hand look at DSW. The weekend’s spring-like weather meant the gathering got to extend out on to the patio.
3. Upcoming Week
A group of students from Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD, began their alternative spring break here Sunday.
A Salesianum homeroom will serve here Monday and another on Friday. Thursday evening a group from Bishop Eustace High School in near-by Cherry Hill will arrive for a long weekend of service.
If you haven’t seen it, CNN reported on a homeless count in Camden. The report features many of our neighbors.
God bless your week,
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS