13 June 2011
11th Week of Ordinary Time
St. Anthony of Padua
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 John 20:19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked for fear … , Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again,”Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
There are a lot of people praying for peace in Camden. Experiencing our community, anyone might ask where is the effect of all those prayers. God inspires, challenges, hounds, guides, and blesses, but he does not force. God’s grace and challenge for peace are always before everyone, but he does not make anyone pay attention and respond.
So individuals’ bad choices affect the neighborhood’s peace and order. But so do the good choices to cooperate with God’s Spirit. You see this concretely here in volunteers who come here to work and to experience a different world, even though they could be doing other things. You see it in people organizing for good here, like Bryan Morton, guy from the neighborhood, who has done well and is committed to living in North Camden, Right now he is working re-start little league in North Camden. It is evident in recent Holy Name grad, Jose, who remarked how he hates the smell of pot as it wafted through the air while we were working at the community garden, Openness to the Spirit can be seen in Susan Mackey, Cathedral secretary for a decade and a half, who makes our sandwich service work—collecting food and guiding our generous volunteer teams.
-How is God inspiring—or challenging, hounding, blessing, bothering, guiding—you today?
-Are you an instrument for real peace in your environment?
-Can God help you with your personal peace?
2. Last Week in Camden
Sunday evening recent 8th grade graduates of Our Lady of Victory in DC arrived ready for two full days of service and reflection. Youth minister Jill Kalinski and history/religion teacher Meghan Meyer and by two older students from the parish lead by word and example. Highlights include visiting the battleship New Jersey with Holy Name School 5th graders and working with kids with special needs. “Working” is not the best word; the OLV volunteers readily connected with openness with everyone we encountered.
Holy Name School 8th grade graduation took place Friday night. Oblate Matt Hillyard spoke to the 25 grads, their families, and the school staff about the contrast between what goes on inside the school and all the negative that goes on outside our inner city school. Anyone who has volunteered with DSW in Camden can take pride in the atmosphere there. Naturally the teachers and staff deserve huge credit, but every effort for the good helps—painting, playing or talking with the kids, reclaiming park or playground, just your presence here—combat the negative and promote the positive. Thank you.
3. Upcoming Events
The year long volunteers have their third retreat this weekend.
Read past essays from the Peace & Justice Blog.
Mike McCue, OSFS