14 October 2013
28th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Callistus, pope, martyr
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 Second Letter to Timothy 3:14-4:2
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
Diane Sawyer hosts a 20/20 documentary about Camden that we watch with almost every group whose stay here involves an overnight. The video follows the lives of a handful of American children and teens for a year. Half live in Camden; the others are from nearby Moorestown, much more scenic and affluent. Focusing on children, the report highlights how no one really has choice over how she or he starts out in life, but the beginning point impacts the rest of the story. The dramatic contrasts break your heart.
The film had particular power for some in the service retreat group here this weekend, because their school is located near Moorestown. Students recognized some places that appeared on the screen. One guy recognized a fast food place he goes to with friends as the place where Billy, one of the teens on the report, traveled 40 minutes by public transportation to work after school for 7.25 per hour. All this helped bring the issues close to home.
Service retreats often help participants see that poverty/privilege, education, hunger, drugs, homelessness are not just abstract problems for government policy or issues for moving documentaries. The wisdom of Jesus helps us see instead the story of our sisters and brothers—equally beloved by God.
It is powerful to observe and encourage students to bring the vocabulary and concepts of the faith given them as infants to understanding encounters with neighbors here—to see sacred Scripture challenge thoughts, feelings, and actions.
-Who most effectively handed on the faith to you as an infant and young person?
-Who do you help form in the wisdom of Jesus Christ—by action and word?
-How is God presently challenging and forming you?
2. Last Week in Camden
Students from Salesianum were here Monday and offered generous service at the usual projects. They also attended a gathering at Camden’s City Hall to promote solutions to our chronic violence problem. Speakers included family members of crime victims who spoke with power. Fr. Gerard, a Camden Diocese priest, spoke about the need to turn away from violence in music and video. Media that express distain for others and make violence appear glamorous or appealing serve as soundtrack for so many. This cannot have good effect on moods, development, relationships, or commitment.
Sixteen juniors from Bishop Eustace High School in neighboring Pennsauken, NJ, got here Thursday after school and stayed until their families joined them for the Cathedral 11:30 Mass.
3. Upcoming Events
Taking advantage the Monday holiday Paula Riley has organized a service trip for families and kids from the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Thursday the first of eight Father Judge freshmen groups will be here. Saturday Cristo Rey has a service morning.
The DSW community will be at Cape May this weekend for an oceanside get away retreat to recharge and reflect.
Again Pope Francis has been communicating the Christian message with vigor and simplicity. As always I recommend the blog, Whispers in the Loggia, as an easy place to find video and texts.
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS