9 June 2014
Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
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 John 3:16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
A journalist in the New York Times recently used the expression “not charismatic” to describe Pope Francis’ style celebrating Mass and speaking in public. The observer noted that the Pope reads his talks and homilies from papers that he often holds in front of him. There was no raising of his voice, jumping around, or cheer leading the crowd, but he is clearly well-prepared and a genuine warmth and joy come across.
The recent gathering for the leaders of Israel and Palestine illustrates this powerfully. Bringing people (enemies) together, praying for peace are such simple gestures. These actions show a joyful and solid faith in the God who so loves the world. We offer segments of the Popes reflection and prayer below.
Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.
History teaches that our strength alone does not suffice. More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it. That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God. We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples. We have heard a summons, and we must respond. It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word “brother”. But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.
To him, the Father, in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, I now turn, begging the intercession of the Virgin Mary, a daughter of the Holy Land and our Mother.
Lord God of peace, hear our prayer!
We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried… But our efforts have been in vain.
Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: “Never again war!”; “With war everything is lost”. Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.
Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness.
Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words “division”, “hatred” and “war” be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam! Amen.
-How do you bring enemies together?
-Do you bring your faith in God’s good will for the world in to thoughts about politics and public policy?
-Where does you courage for peacemaking come from?
2. Last Week in Camden
The eighth grade class of Our Lady of Victory parish in D.C. served here Monday to Wednesday. Instead of a typical end of the year class trip to the beach or to an amusement park—worthy destinations—-these students top off their grammar school career with a service retreat in Camden. They did several great things, but the best was painting the front of one neighbor’s house. It is now a very clean and cheerful yellow.
Thursday volunteers Bernard, Kevin, and I had a retreat at Our Mother of Consolation in Chestnut Hill, Philly. Bob Bazolli and the other Oblates there offered a warm welcome. DSW advisor, Paula Riley meet us for coffee and retreat conversation on Germantown Ave.
Students from Cristo Rey High School spent Saturday morning here, learning from the city and working in the community garden.
3. This Week
NB This week DSW begins sending out a monthly e-mail that offers illustrations and takes time to go into detail about the work and background of various groups and individuals who get involved here. The traditional “Service Matters” will be available as a blog on the Oblate website and on Father Kevin Nadolski’s Thursday e-mailing—-“DeSales Weekly.”
The blog Whispers in the Loggia has video of the entire peace prayer gathering from Pentecost Sunday as well as the text in English of Pope Francis’ reflection and prayer.
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS