Service Matters – Third Week of Advent

16 December 2013

Third Week of Advent


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
  •  Links


1. Service Word      Matthew 11:2-11


… the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 

“Joseph, son of David, 

do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.

For it is through the Holy Spirit 

that this child has been conceived in her.

She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 

because he will save his people from their sins.”


Dreaming together, God offers St. Joseph a different way of seeing his options.   Like his namesake, the patriarch Joseph the dreamer, this good man pays attention.


DeSales Service Works offers volunteers from middle class backgrounds and Camden residents from varied backgrounds the opportunity to grow in awareness that the world they know is not the only way of living.


Students report new awareness that there are people who can’t take for granted what they always can.   They report a new gratitude, viewing their situation in comparison to that of others. We get to hear directly what volunteers think and feel—since service retreat includes discussion, sharing insight and reaction.


With Camden neighbors, what I observe falls into these basic areas: teaching life lessons, enjoying and seeing differences, getting evidence of another world, and discomfort.   It seems healthy and valuable when an older homeless guy or an addict offers his life story as a cautionary tale; “Don’t make the same mistakes I did.”   Our kids get to talk to and play with volunteers just a bit older than they are from exotic, far away places like Virginia or Wisconsin—or Cherry Hill or Philadelphia.   Student volunteers give visions of worlds where graduation from high school and college are simply an unquestioned norm.


We hope time spent together opens everyone up to God who dreams with us of wider horizons, past our fears and sins.




2. Last Week in Camden

The multigenerational Holy Infant Parish group finished there service here with a couple of snowy days.     Despite the bitter cold and snow, we planted spring bulbs, cooked wholesome soup, and gave the volunteer house a complete spruce up.



3. Upcoming Week

Monday Rick Phillip will present at the Romero Center, our sister service agency in East Camden.   Students from Cardinal O’Hara outside Philadelphia will visit Thursday.   Holy Family Parish in Newark, DE, will send some youth up here Friday ands Saturday.    Saturday Zach Ryan will lead a group of Sallies student here until the 24th.    The Dolson family will join us the 23rd and 24th as well.



4. Links

Please continue your prayers for Juan—still in his rehab program!

Keep offering our common prayer for an end to hunger by 2025, and please invite others to join the prayer and the effort.


 God Bless You,

Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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