13 February 2012
Sixth Week in 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
1. Service Word Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with [compassion], he stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
The experience of stretching out beyond a familiar, comfortable world—like spending time visiting Camden to serve and reflect—can be very powerful. Consistently in discussions, journaling, and evaluations, volunteers record how much they get out of being here: meeting people and working with them for good in this struggling neighborhood. Differences are real: language, ethnic background, education, financial resources, but these do not need to keep anyone apart. This is particularly true in the context of service and Church.
Jesus was all about making connections. Look at his great commandment, “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself”—even your enemy. We can see it in this gospel where Jesus goes against the tradition he grew up with to stretch out his hand to touch the man with the terrible disease. The New American Bible translation used at Mass describes Jesus feeling “pity” for the man. The word compassion captures the sense much better, because the word “pity” in American English suggests distance, or condescension—feeling from a superior position. That does not fit Jesus, at all. He enters into our lives very fully and understands us inside and out. Powerful.
-Is there any area of life where the Lord may be inviting you, challenging you, to stretch right now?
-What differences cause you the most difficulty bridging?
-Are there ways you experience the Lord stretching out his hand to you?
2. Last Week in Camden
Freshmen from Father Judge High School served here Tuesday with humor and generosity.
The Oblates’ annual fund/fun/friend raiser, Winter Carnival at Knowleton Mansion (Friday night—not Saturday, as I misreported in last week’s Service Matters) was very fun. Thanks for warm hosting by Oblate leaders Jim Greenfield and Kevin Nadolski, and event organizer, John Fisher.
Camden’s Mayor Dana Redd and Police Chief Scott Thomson held a forum Wednesday night on public safety. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/crime&id=8539450 Both officials laid out a practical, well thought out plan to address crime and the drug trade in Camden.
3. Upcoming Events
Monday the Oblate provincial staff meets in Washington. The agenda will include projecting the next four years of DSW. We will discuss how we forward Oblate priorities in the areas of Church, charism, and community. We hope you will be part of this project for the next four years and beyond—well beyond.
Friday evening youth from Holy Family Parish in Newark, DE, will come for an evening and Saturday morning of service. Saturday we will work at New Visions day shelter.
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- http://www.facebook.com/DeSalesServiceWorks. Mike Morgan’s blog- http://camdenchronicles.wordpress.com/. A slide show of various Camden scenes- http://www.flickr.com/photos/camdendccb/show/
God bless you, Mike McCue