18 February 2013
First Week of Lent
A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, in Camden, NJ,
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
… they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
So much of life seems like going forward with only with faith. Vision into the future has to be somewhat unsure—like entering the cloud. Initiating a project, beginning marriage or a family, making a career switch, starting studies, looking deeply at your life, leaving behind drink or drugs—all can be unsure journeys. As the Catholic monk, Thomas Merton prayer puts it, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going…”
The sure thing is God’s voice, the example of Jesus, and the life to which God calls us. The Transfiguration’s “mountain top experience” stays with Peter, James, and John as they make their way as followers of Jesus.
Merton’s prayer sums up so well:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” ― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
-Do you have any “mountain top experiences” of faith or clarity guide your way down on the ground?
-Are you able to feel God’s care and guidance even in the darkest cloud?
-What are some ways you offer direction and support for people in your life?
2. Last Week in Camden
In the last newsletter, I mentioned that the effort to address homelessness in Camden, Joseph’s House, had found an ideal building for a secure home for this ministry. On Ash Wednesday the board met and voted to purchase that property and to locate the program there. We are in our third winter season of sheltering people who have no where to go, and have learned so much by entering the “cloud” of this service—and of raising funds and support to help make it happen.
High school groups from Salesianum, Father Judge, Ireton, and Visitation served here last week. All the students pushed themselves beyond their usual comfort zones to serve our neighbors.
I lead a 8:00-2:00 Lenten Day of reflection with the faculty of Our Lady of Victory school on Friday. They were great. Each spring their graduating students come to Camden for a few days to cap off their Catholic school experience with service, prayer, and reflection.
Camden welcomed our new bishop last week and got a clear sense that he is personally committed to the needy and to new Americans. Bishop Sullivan spent most of his ministry leading an inner city parish. We also got to honor and thank retiring Bishop Galante, who gave the Oblates a warm welcome to south Jersey.
3. Upcoming Events
Judge and Salesianum will be back two days this week along with several groups converging Saturday for a great service day. Students from Immaculata University outside Philadelphia will begin their stay here Friday.
Camden DeSales Service Works Live Jesus REUNION!
You are invited to a CAMDEN REUNION
Morning Retreat with outstanding presenters, including Oblate provincial, Fr. Jim Greenfield.
1:00 Update projects & people
with Ken & Barbie and DSW Volunteers.
1:30 “What did you take back home with you?” Reports from your neighborhood.
Join us for all of LIVE JESUS or join at 12:30 for the CAMDEN DSW REUNION.
Live Jesus Speakers
Father James Greenfield, OSFS
Father Kenneth McKenna, OSFS
Seminarian Jeffery Edmonds, OSFS
Deacon Brian Zumbrum, OSFS
St. John Neumann Parish, 11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, VA. 20191
Read past reflections at the archives of Service Matters.
Have a good week,
Mike McCue, OSFS firstname.lastname@example.org