Service Matters – Third Week in Ordinary Time

27 January 2014

Third Week in Ordinary Time

St. Angela Merici


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         Luke 2:22-40

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go 

in peace, according to your word,

for my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and glory for your people Israel.”


The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;

and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother…


The Canticle of Simeon from Luke’s Gospel is part of the official night prayer of the Church designed for the conclusion of every day.  It invites us to join this wise, prayerful figure in celebrating God present and at work now, in each moment that passes.   The canticle aims to help believers grow in an optimistic, hope-filled outlook.


Expect miracles. You can witness daily miracles in Camden’s extreme contrasts of light and deep darkness.


However, I think it can be hard to give yourself over completely to belief, because, for example: sobriety is fragile, relationships require work, we ourselves fall into our same faults time and time again, temptation and quick-fixes stand always at the ready, and progress comes one step at a time.   Isn’t it easy to miss the miracles in the present moment because of regrets from the past, blindnesses and disappointments in the present, or fears for the future?


Writer Ann Patchett offered valuable insight in a recent radio interview.   She talks about caring for her grandmother during her last years disabled by age in body and mind:


It all goes back to love. You just roll up your sleeves and you do the job that’s in front of you and that’s what people do. And you know what? It’s easy for me to say this now that I’m years on the other side of it, but it’s a privilege to see someone through that time in their life. 


And the trick of it is to love them for who they are that day, to never look at that person and think, “I remember when you were my grandmother and you used to knit me sweaters and make me dumplings and wash my hair. I remember when you did all of these things and I’m mad that you can’t do all of these things for me anymore.”


If you can let all of that go and just be in the moment with that person and love them for who they are and what they’re capable of that day, it can be pretty great even as it is incredibly hard.


-How do you do staying in the present moment?

-What helps ou put the past and the future in their proper prespectives?

-Does awareness of the power and love of God give you peace?



2. Last Week in Camden

Members of young adult groups from St. John Neumann and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parishes in Norther Virginia finished up their long weekend here last Monday, on MLK Day.   Oblate postulant Jordan Gorzalski did a great job leading and guiding the group.


Friday was the feast of St.Francis de Sales, and I joined Bishop Ireton High School, also in Northern Virginia for Mass in honor of our patron.   New “head of school,” Dr. Tom Curry introduced the Mass referencing his copy of Francis de Sales’ Golden Counsels from a 1986 vocation retreat—signed with good blessings by then seminarians Matt Hillyard and Jim Greenfield.


Friday night a group from Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, New Hampshire arrived for the weekend.   Their stay was complicated by the snowy, winter weather, but they entered fully into each activity.   At lunchtime a group from Lehigh University visited to learn about our neighborhood.



3. Upcoming Week

There are no overnight groups here this week, but Sallies homerooms will be here Wednesday and Thursday.   Father Judge will be here also on Thursday.



4. Links

Joseph’s House shelter ended up opening last Tuesday.   City officials hustled to get all our inspections and approvals in line so we could offer “code blue” emergency shelter.   The staff was in its training week and got to put that into practice sooner than expected.

Take a look at the renovated building: Joseph’s House of Camden.

Have a good week,

Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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