17 March 2014
Second Week of Lent
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.
–Last Week in Camden
1. Service Word Exodus 17:3-7
In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
Egypt was the place of bitter slavery, but it was familiar and “safe.” God was offering freedom, maturity, a future of promise. The risk and trial were too much for the grumbling crowd. Trust in God and in his servant, Moses, were too much as well.
Isn’t this attitude of the ancient Israelites all too human. You can see this in Camden and in every place in our world. For some addicts the discipline of AA/NA meetings and the 12 Steps seems too much. For too many young people here, college is for “white people”—-not for them. Women and men stay in toxic relationships because they have no one else.
It can be so tempting to cling to the world we know—-unwilling to stretch to boundaries. God is always calling us to leave the confines of our comfort zone to grow and mature—-and to join him in service of all in need.
-Is there any thing God is calling you to leave behind in these days of Lent and Easter?
-Are their new worlds he is leading you to explore?
-Can you uncover any slavery in your life?
2. Last Weeks in Camden
Two Thursdays ago students from Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg, VA, arrived for service. Students from Rivier University and James Madison University arrived Saturday for alternative spring breaks. The same very full Saturday a group from Cristo Rey High School, Philadelphia, and some Cathedral Parish confirmation candidates were here with everyone else for service.
Monday young women from Georgetown Visitation joined for the day, working with the grade school kids. Tuesday Rivier, JMU, as well as friends from CASA, the Camden youth group, and Cristo Rey, traveled to Chestnut Hill College to hear Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. He shared about life in his Los Angles barrio and the ministry there, Homeboy Industries. He tells an amazing story rooted in solidarity and faith. His book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion is the favorite of many readers.
3. Upcoming Week
Early this snowy morning it looks like Salesianum’s Monday service retreat is off, but they will have homerooms here Thursday and Friday. Fr. Judge freshmen will serve here Thursday as well. A Bishop Ireton group will arrive for Salesian service on Thursday evening.
Wednesday, March 19, is the Feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church and of Camden’s Joseph’s House shelter. While neither the Oblates nor DSW own the shelter per se, it is a significant part of service retreat experiences in Camden, and it provides aid for people who are homeless within the Cathedral parish boundaries. We can be grateful for this ministry and for those who make it possible. I want to specifically thank DSW friends Bob Cavanaugh, Cathy Novelli, Diane McCue, Miriam Kennedy Laub, Fr. Sandy Pocetto, and countless others for Joseph House support. Please remember to pray for our guests—-always—-but especially on the feast day. Thanks to all!
Join Emily and Sarah as they run on March 23, 2014, to raise money for Camden New Jersey’s DeSales Service Works!
After spending a day in service at DeSales Service Works in Camden with some of her Padua Academy classmates, Emily couldn’t say enough good things about her experience. She talked with her friend Sarah about it, and they both wanted to do something make a difference for this organization. Their goal is to do some fundraising for DeSales Service Works as they work towards running a half-marathon.
Please consider donating to their efforts in order to help a truly amazing charity that’s making a difference for those in need! http://www.crowdrise.com/runforcamden
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS